Les Biches

Les Biches


Reviewed by: Hotcow

Les Biches is an intriguing story of love, jealousy, domination and submission that is full of thought-provoking contemporary subjects.

A beautiful, wealthy, bored woman, called Frederique (Stephane Audran), is walking across a bridge in Paris, wearing a luxurious fur coat, when she picks up a young, poor, struggling street artist (Jacqueline Sassard). She pays her 500 francs for her work, which leaves the street artist curious enough to ask why.

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Frederique befriends the street artist, who calls herself Why, using sexual power, social dominance and subtle manipulation. Why is happy to be controlled and enters into a bi-sexual relationship. A few weeks after their meeting, they leave Paris to visit Frederique's villa in St Tropez in the off season, during that time of year devoid of social dynamics. At the villa, an odd comical pair of gay men, two of Frederique's male proteges, greets them.

Each day is spent in a world of ultimate leisure, throwing parties, playing poker and boules. Why quickly understands the power game of master and puppet and how they are all at the villa for Frederique's enjoyment and pleasure, money being the most important instrument of her power.

During one of the poker games, Paul (Jean-Louis Trintignant), an young architect, becomes attracted to Why. When he leaves at the end of the evening, she follows him, pushing the boundaries between Frederique and herself to the limits. When Paul kisses her, Why notices that the comical gays, Robeque (Henri Attal) and Riais (Dominique Zardi), are following them to report back to Frederique. She asks Paul to kiss her again and that night they have an evening of sexual pleasure.

The following day, Frederique visits Paul to find out the seriousness of the evening's encounter with Why. As a possible threat to her dominance, she pursues him for her own purposes and becomes romantically involved.

Why is saddened by the turn of events but learns that she has no choice but to succumb to the current situation. Why envies Frederque and wants to look and talk just like her. She starts dressing in her clothes and wearing her jewellery and acting in the same manner.

One drunken evening, the love triangle takes a turn when it is eluded that a possible three way sexual encounter might occur, stopped at the last minute by Frederique, only to further reinforce her power and position. Why is upset and enviously listens at the bedroom door as Frederique and Paul make love.

The next morning Paul and Frederique depart St Tropez for Paris, leaving Why a note, telling her to look after herself and not get bored. At this point, we know that Why's innocence has been erased and she has had enough of the current relationship and sets out to change things.

This is an interesting story, but I found it rather dull.

Reviewed on: 10 Apr 2006
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Love, jealousy and domination in Sixties France.
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Director: Claude Chabrol

Writer: Paul Gegauff, Claude Chabrol

Starring: Stephane Audran, Jacqueline Sassard, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Nane Germon, Henri Attal, Dominique Zardi, Serge Bento, Claude Chabrol

Year: 1968

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France/Italy


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