Review: ‘Juste Avant la Nuit’

Michel Bouquet starts with killing the wife of his best friend who had been his mistres. She had egged him on in a depraved, but not serious, manner and finally he does it for keeps.

Michel Bouquet starts with killing the wife of his best friend who had been his mistres. She had egged him on in a depraved, but not serious, manner and finally he does it for keeps.

Then pic [from the novel The Thin LIne by Edward Atlyah] deals with his living with this deed. In the background are shrewdly-concocted visual ideas and events that reflect on his dilemma. His middleaged accountant absconds with funds due a young girl. There is a rat in his ornate house which is finally seen trapped, to counterpoint his own state. He is finally driven by guilt or masochism or twisted moral drive to give himself up, though there is no suspicion of him.

Chabrol is fine with actors and Bouquet has presence and brooding intensity as the killer-despite-himself, while Stephane Audran is effective as the self-effacing but proud wife, and Francois Perier telling as the friend who even accepts a confession of the murder.

Chabrol shows a mixed attitude towards his upper-class types which both condemns and seems to understand their seeming class outlooks, problems and intimations of crackups. This might be the best made of all of Chabrol’s pix around this subject.

Juste Avant la Nuit

France - Italy

Production

Films La Boetie/Cinemar. Director Claude Chabrol; Producer Andre Genoves (exec.); Screenplay Claude Chabrol; Camera Jean Rabier; Editor Jacques Gaillard; Music Pierre Jansen; Art Director Guy Littaye

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Michel Bouquet Stephane Audran Francois Perier Dominique Zardi Henri Attal Paul Temps
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