This version of the famous story from “Les diaboliques” by Barbey d’Aurevilly (1874) features beautiful classical music, costumes and theatrical conventions which result in pure cinema. A rich, decadent man of the world meets an exceptional lady of the streets.
The 19th-century dandy-writer Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly was specialised in short stories about monarchist aristocracy who had lost their power but not their money and who of course surrendered to morally irresponsible behaviour. Recently, Catherine Breillat also based the film “Une vieille maîtresse” on the work of Barbey d’Aurevilly, and “A Woman’s Revenge” has already been filmed in 1921 by Robert Wiene.
Several stories from the anthology “Les diaboliques”, which was immediately confiscated in 1874, have the structure of a story in a story – also this one. Rita Azevedo Gomes sticks fairly close to the original text in a solemn, theatrical yet also picturesquely beautiful style reminiscent of De Oliveira or Eugène Green. Roberto is a handsome, wealthy man of the world. He is arrogant and easily bored. Yet one evening his attention is attracted by a prostitute who turns out to be a missing noblewoman. She tells her story: a marriage without passion, an affair, a shocking murder and ultimate revenge. —IFFR
Over the past thirty years, Rita AZEVEDO GOMES (1952, Portugal) has worked in a variety of cinema, theatre and artistic projects. Originally educated in painting and sculpting, she started her career in film as an assistant production designer. Since 1990, she works as film director and screenwriter. She has made several short and feature films, which were shown at film festivals all over the world.
O som da terra a tremer (1990), O cinema vai ao teatro (1996, doc), King Arthur (1996), Intromissoes (1998), 25 de abril (1999, short), Frágil como o mundo (2000), Altar (2002), A 15ª Pedra – Manoel De Oliveira e Joao Bernard Da Costa em conversa filmada (2005), A conquista de Faro (2005, short), A coleççao invisivel (2008, short), A vingança de uma mulher/Revenge of a woman (2011). —IFFR
Nem tudo funciona neste filme, mas quando funciona é das coisas mais arrebatadoras que temos visto nos últimos tempos. Formalmente complexo, com ecos de Godard, César Monteiro, Puccini, Brecht, Visconti e Schroeter, o filme balança magistralmente entre o teatral, o operático e o cinematográfico (e há lá muito cinema, apesar das aparências). Os actores são óptimos (grande Rita Durão!) e tecnicamente é imaculado.
Plus: José Luis Torres Leiva’s leader for the Hubert Bals Fund, Copia imperfecta an homage to Raúl Ruiz.