source www.imdb.com

The source of this film is a book of Sebastien Japrisot – a thriller author and script-writer who also directed a a few films by himself. After having seen the film directed by Jean Becker in 1983 I start to wonder whether it would not have been better in this case if Japrisot brought to screen his own novel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmlD08WlO2U

(video source etik42)

The whole film turns around Isabelle Adjani, By the time she made L’ete meurtrier Adjani was already at her 20th film or such and Truffault’s L’Histoire d’Adele H., or Polanski’s Le locataire were already behind her. Yet, she has in this film the freshness of a debutante and a sex-appeal that equals few films I have seen (Tornatore’s Malena with Monica Belucci comes to my mind). Adjani plays here the role of the victim and of the avenger, her beauty, changes of mood, suffering and mistakes make and destroy everything in the story and in the film itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z-VEavOs8I

(video source etik42)

Seen through the perspective of almost three decades the story of the young girl seeking revenge for the rape of her mother may seem conventional and melodramatic. It is however very much into the style and approach not only of the classic French cinema but also of the literature – the characters seem to descend to us from the world of an Emile Zola, with their predestination of giving up to passion and with the tendency of making fatal, destinies breaking mistakes for the seek of love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii-vtINLE7Y

(video source etik42)

If there is anything or anybody to blame for this film not really aging well despite Adjani’s fabulous performance (seconded by Alan Souchon, an actor who seems to have all but disappeared after having made this film, and I have a hard time understanding why) I think it’s the direction and the director. Similar material has created masterpieces if I am to think about films like La mariee etait en noir – Jean Becker seems to have lacked the daring of taking a ‘classical’ story and using lesser conventional cinematographic means in order to make the story more credible. And yet, the film is worth seeing, even just for the pleasure of seeing Isabelle Adjani at her best.