|11.09.19||DVD||This Screening is part of event: DVRfest 2019|
Roll #1: 4
Predictably, the random number generator chose a great choice for a saturday matinee in this early french noir from Clouzot. Clouzot's falls in a weird place in my brain. I remember reading in Truffaut's auteur article that the new wave kind of shit on Clouzot and held him as a symbol of the old guard, but the dude made Wages of Fear which is one of the best thrillers... ever. I remember being not so enamored with Diabolique but this was very very good! So who knows.
This one's about a "poison pen" writer who starts sending letters to everyone in town airing everyone's dirty laundry and putting the town in an uproar. At first I thought this would have something to do with Poe since the main actor looks kind of like him and has the same mustache and there's a scene where he holds a stuffed raven, but I was wrong. Instead, everybody's secret truths eventually get exposed and the town succumbs further and further into mob mentality to make it stop. Gorgeous high-contrast black and white photography, lots of dutch angles and proto-noirish undertones with a dangerous woman and an innocent man stuck in a trap and all that, but also still very French.
Really my only problem with this movie is with the very very last scene, so:
... spoilers start
Why the hell was he writing another letter? If Laura really was supposed to be the raven, then wouldn't another letter from the raven saying that she's the raven exonerate her? What the hell, dude? To me, this stinks of a studio note to give the ending a clearer resolution, but the movie would've been ten times as great if that letter didn't exist. We'd never know for sure if it was really him... yeah all signs would point to it and we'd still get that great beat of the widow doing her thing, but still... I loved how confusing and Christopher Nolan the movie got at the end with all kinds of possibilities blossoming out... having the real raven die in the middle of signing his last letter is too convenient... not to mention making no fucking sense.
... spoilers end
Anyway, I really liked this a lot. I think I have another Clouzot film in the lottery so maybe it'll come up. Or maybe not. We'll see.