Violette aka Violette Nozière, written by Odile Barski, Hervé Bromberger, Frédéric Grendel, based on the book by Jean-Marie Fitère
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Violette is a chef d’oeuvre.
The film is included on The New York Times’ List of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made:
One of the best directors works with one of the best actresses in the world and the result is outstanding
Claude Chabrol is the director of masterpieces that I noted on, some of them with Isabelle Huppert leading the cast:
- La Cérémonie, La Femme Infidele, Le Boucher – all three with another exceptional actress- Stéphane Audran
Also in the splendid cast we have Jean Carmet, in the role of Baptiste Noziere and the young Fabrice Luchini, one of the best actors in the world today.
Although based on a true story, I must confess that I am confused and not sure how the blame is shared.
For most of the narrative I was tempted to attribute responsibility to Violette, perhaps with some attenuating circumstances.
After all, Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar mentions the notion that those who have all the advantages may be at a disadvantage.
An extreme case is mentioned, wherein a gifted individual had excellent results in school, university went all the way to the White house, where he worked in the staff as adviser and then committed suicide when faced with adversity.
The same professor mentions as a mantra: “Learn to fail or fail to learn”, which might have been the case of Violette.
Even if not born in a wealthy family, the parents made all the efforts to give her all she wanted, money included.
But she is provocative, challenges authority, in one of the first scenes she climbs on a statue of an honored figure to apply lipstick on his cheeks and face…
She is engaged in a promiscuous life that includes prostitution and is probably the cause of her illness- syphilis.
The father is always protective, but even mother, although critical at times, still accepts futile and false explanations from her daughter.
Germaine finds a love letter, but her inventive daughter says it is just an essay they had to prepare for school.
The syphilis is explained as being in the family and the parents have no idea she isn’t a virgin anymore.
They probably would not have been able to even contemplate the fact that their daughter was selling her body.
A nadir is reached when she meets Jean Dabin, a man that she becomes infatuated with- I do not know if we can call the feeling love.
She loves being with him, and even says to him that he can do whatever he wants with her, but for the long term, it seems disastrous.
The young man not only accepts the role of a gigolo, being paid by his attractive, eighteen year old mistress, but keeps coming up with new fabrications and complaints meant to extract ever more money.
Violette lies about the source of the money, which comes partly from stealing them from her parents, while they sleep.
She is asking for big sums from whoever she can, including a sort of an elderly protector and she is still prostituting herself.
Jean Debin is told that she has a rich family, when he talks about really large sums and the man does not care where it comes from.
Ultimately, Violette reaches a point of absolute ruthlessness- I thought- but it appears other explanations are uncovered.
It is hard for me to decide whether to believe the claims and accusations the heroine makes or to maintain the conviction formed in the first part of the movie, when it appeared clear that nothing will stop the heartless protagonist.