Les dames du Bois de Boulogne

Les dames du Bois de Boulogne

Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne

DVD - 2003 | French
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Realizing that her lover Jean is losing interest in her, a society lady Helene gets revenge by tricking him into marrying a former prostitute Agnes. After the wedding Helene tells a stunned Jean about his wife's secret past.
Publisher: [Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, c2003.
Edition: Full screen.
ISBN: 9780780026223
0780026225
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (85 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet.
Summary: Realizing that her lover Jean is losing interest in her, a society lady Helene gets revenge by tricking him into marrying a former prostitute Agnes. After the wedding Helene tells a stunned Jean about his wife's secret past.
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Froster Jul 29, 2013

This is a very intriguing little number. It begins as a society revenge fantasy a la "Cousin Bette", or "Les Liasons Dangereuse", and then the filmmakers pull the Aubusson rug out from under you. This makes it less satisfying, but more "poetic". Thus you realize it's the brainchild of Cocteau, but unlike many of his other half-baked efforts, this doesn't totally ruin the experience. In fact there are two intriguing performances that rise above all the sham lyricism: Elina Labourdette, who, if you can imagine it, reminds one of a Gallic Eleanor Powell. (If one can imagine Eleanor Powell as a tap-dancing call girl who suffers, suffers, suffers). And the astonishing Maria Caseres. She's one of those actresses who stand out as a "presence"...as thoroughly engaging as an Arletty, or a Signoret, or a Moreau--a willful, sexy experienced sphinx. The way only they can make 'em in France.

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