If you are down with classic film, then you will recognize the cry “New York Herald Tribune.” It’s shouted by a character who isn’t even on screen but this signature sound clip is in almost all of those montages of classic films people put together before your modern day flick starts in the theatre. The film itself (spoiler alert) is about a bored housewife who hears about ANOTHER bored housewife who has turned to part-time prostitution to alleviate her boredom. With the predictability of the sun rising and setting, Severine (played by the legendary Catherine Deneuve), the title character, pursues the same distraction. I will admit there are some fascinating scenes. There’s the Japanese businessman with the box that holds something so vile and bizarre that no one will ever let him use it. The scene is already brilliant and the director finishes it off with a magnificent flourish by never showing or telling the audience what is in the box.
I think it would make a fascinating experiment to get a cross section of people to watch this scene and posit guesses as to what mind glowingly despicable thing is contained within. There’s also the lecherous adulterer who turns out to be the one who has the moral authority over the previously chaste Severine. I’m no astute film historian (or astute anything, really) but the whole movie proceeds pretty formulaically. Maybe it was the first movie to produce this formula but it didn’t shock or surprise me. Then again, it was 1967 when it was released. Maybe that shit was wild back then. See it as a history lesson or for cultural literacy. But this daily offering is hardly something that will satisfy your hunger.
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