In Catherine Breillat’s Sale comme un ange, Claude Brasseur plays Georges Deblache, a police inspector past middle age and so despondent about his life that he refuses to have a medical check-up, even though he suspects he has cancer.
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That she originally wrote this for Pialat doesn't surprise me. It seems, for a while, to be more in his wheelhouse than hers, but once the seduction scene arrives it's all Breillat up till the galvanizing final shot (she really has a way with those).
This goes in my unofficial "Bad Lieutenant" series. I feel like it could be called "Bad Lieutenant: France". Brasseur is really what holds the film together. He's magnificent. I would love to plunge into his other work. The ending was interesting but it did not work for me, otherwise a great crime drama and portrait of a policeman.
A reworking of That Obscure Object of Desire, especially heightened in shots with Barbara/Lio and doorways, which are fraught for her! Hard to rate fairly because of the realistic misogyny, rape, and all around ridiculous Gallic behavior of the men. That said, it's highly tonic to see it portrayed without being glamorized and asking us to excuse it. The gun collection in Georges's bedroom is a funny Buñuel-type slam.
Desire. Betrayal. The failure of flesh. How easily lust can turn to hatred, fascination to disgust. It is all surface: love, friendship, loyalty. Mere words revealed to be as fragile as tissue paper, easily shredded by the actions of the characters revealing who they really are within, characters who lie, cheat, mistreat and finally show how much they despise each other...how much they have always despised each other
What starts as a police procedural becomes, by its middle section, Last Tango in Paris, detective edition. Not as raw as Breillat's other psychosexual dramas, the best scene in the movie involves a 15-minute long take where the cop seduces the wife of his partner. You never know what the wife thinks of the affair -- does she like the seduction or is she being forced into it? A subtle and nuanced character study.