"Clueless in Paris"
In the French movie PLACE VENDOME, Catherine Deneuve, whose career stretches back to the time when actresses were beautiful, elegant and could act, portrays Mrs. Marianne Malivert, the wife of a respected Place Vendome jewelry merchant who suddenly finds herself caught up in criminal activity.
Besieged by fears that he has been found out, her husband Vincent commits suicide by driving his car into a logging truck. Evidently, Vincent bought a stolen diamond, without the proper paperwork, that belonged to the largest diamond merchants, the DeBeers group. The DeBeers group wants the rough diamond back, but Vincent had it cut into two beautiful stones.
Mrs. Malivert, meanwhile, has spent years in and out of alcohol treatment centers. Her alcoholism is so intense that she was only home for 17 days in the past year. When Vincent dies, she must come to grips with his illegal activities and his love affair. In the process, the movie reveals that she is not an innocent, although she is clueless. In fact, she was fronting for stolen jewelry when she was caught by Vincent and forced to marry him, in exchange for his promise not to press charges. Her naivete and denial is reflected in a younger version of herself, Vincent’s lover, Nathalie, who performed the same courier service for him that his wife had performed for the criminal behind all the stolen merchandise.
PLACE VENDOME is a very well-produced movie with a very obscure plot and an enigmatic ending in the tradition of French cinema. Mrs. Malivert is left with leftovers. Her great love is unsatisfied. Her life has been meaningless. She finds herself on the beach, with the two-bit detective who bedded her and then turned her over to the DeBeers group that wanted the diamond back.
These dark themes are reminiscent of the humanist socialist filmmaking of the 1950s. Greed is the motivating factor of the rich Mafia-like capitalists. The common man or woman gets inexorably ground up by the system. It is not a pleasant story, but it is a well-crafted movie.
Although there is no on-screen fornication, it is clearly implied, and there is full upper female nudity. What takes the movie into the extreme caution category, however, is the dark hopelessness of the themes. There is no recognition by anyone in the film that there is any hope beyond their materialistic lives.
(HH, L, V, S, N, AA, D, MMM) Humanistic worldview; 2 obscenities & 1 profanity; threats of violence but no on-screen violence; implied sex; upper female nudity; alcohol abuse; smoking & reference to drugs; lying, cheating, stealing, & organized crime.
In the French movie PLACE VENDOME, Catherine Deneuve plays a naïve widow with a criminal past who must come to grips with her late husband’s mistress and his illegal activities. Mrs. Malivert has spent years in and out of alcohol treatment centers. Her late husband was a respected jewelry merchant who re-cut a stolen diamond, but committed suicide because he was afraid the owners found out about it. Now, the owners want the diamond back from her.
PLACE VENDOME is a well-produced movie with an enigmatic ending. Mrs. Malivert is left with leftovers. Her great love is unsatisfied. Her life has been meaningless. She finds herself left with the two-bit detective who bedded her and betrayed her. These dark themes are reminiscent of 1950s socialist filmmaking where greed is the motivating factor. The common man gets inexorably ground up by the system. Although there is no on-screen fornication, it is clearly implied, and includes full upper female nudity. What really takes the movie into the extreme caution category is the dark hopelessness of the themes. There is no recognition by any character that there is any hope beyond their materialistic lives