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Archive for July 18th, 2009

blanche 2

by Allan Fish

(France 1971 92m) not on DVD

These walls hide strange things

p  Dominique Duvergé  d/w/ed/art  Walerian Borowczyk  novel  “Mazepa” by Juliusz Slowacki  ph  Guy Durban, André Dubreuil  m  13th century ballads  cos  Piet Bolscher

Ligia Branice (Blanche), Michel Simon (The Master), Lawrence Trimble (Nicolas), Jacques Perrin (Bartolomeo), Georges Wilson (The King), Denise Peronne (Madame Harcourt), Jean Gras, Michel Delehaye, Roberto, Genevieve Graves, Stanley Barry, Guy Bonnafoux,

If someone were to ask me what the most Buñuelian film in my list of greats not to be directed by the Spanish genius, I think that, after some deliberation, the film I would select would be Walerian Borowczyk’s Blanche.  This is no idle comparison, for there are various similarities.  True, Buñuel never made a film set in medieval Europe, but just think about it.  Let’s detail the plot to give you a better inkling…

            Blanche is the young bride of a powerful but ageing baron in 13th century France, who is also beloved by her stepson, the somewhat sombre Nicolas.  One day the king comes to visit her husband’s castle (a small, four-towered keep of a place, “pleasantly situated but as gloomy as a Holy Land prison” is how the king describes it”), bringing with him an entourage including a host of monks and his companion, a young page.  Once both the king and the page catch sight of the young Blanche, they fall madly in lust with her.  They see her as ripe for the taking, and both make passes at her; indeed, on one occasion, the king is attacked by Nicolas believing it to be the page, Bartolomeo, who he knows is after her.  Slowly the old baron becomes jealous and believes his young wife has been unfaithful and, after a series of incidents, ends up bricking Bartolomeo up in his wife’s chamber, much to the chagrin of the king.  (more…)

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