Friday, December 19, 2014

Film Capsule: The Bride Wore Black (1968)

The Bride Wore Black (1968)
Directed by François Truffaut

In 1967 François Truffaut published his book-length interview with Alfred Hitchcock. The following year he would release this darkly mordant thriller, his most direct homage to the Master of Suspense. Based on a novel by “William Irish” (Cornell Woolrich), and proceeding through a succession of five violent vignettes punctuated with the occasional motivation-revealing flashback, the film depicts with appropriately undemonstrative precision the systematic retaliation of a widowed bride (Jeanne Moreau) on a series of five unsuspecting men she deems responsible for her husband’s murder. Truffaut, working with cinematographer Raoul Coutard, paints in a muted palette of browns and blacks, framing Moreau’s seductive visage in cooly detached compositions emphasizing space and movement over psychology. Though not well received upon release, the film has since proven influential on a variety of revenge narratives, as well as marking one of the rapidly maturing Truffaut’s last truly trenchant works. (Dec 23, 3:10pm, 7:30pm at Film Forum’s “Chandler, Hammett, Woolrich & Cain”) [The L]

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