Une Partie De Plaisir

This is one of Claude Chabrol’s most unpleasant films, but it can’t be denied that it’s also one of his most fascinating and provocative. It was written by his longtime collaborator, the late Paul Gegauff, who stars with his own ex-wife Daniele Gegauff, and the subject is the brutal breakup of their apparently idyllic marriage. Things start to crumble when the chauvinistic and unbalanced Gegauff perversely suggests that his wife consider taking on a lover, and then becomes increasingly abusive when she follows his suggestion. As often happens in Chabrol films, it is their child (played by their actual daughter, Clemence Gegauff) who winds up bearing, mainly silently, the brunt of the ensuing carnage. You may be enraged by this film, and you won’t find it easy to shake off; the self-exposure of the leads and Chabrol’s unswerving control of the direction combine to make it corrosive (1976). (JR)

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