Le jeu avec le feu (1975) from TomCat

Here's a first for me. I'm reviewing a movie I have never seen. I have undertaken this seemingly impossible task since it is a Robbe-Grillet film, and therefore not having seen it gives me a leg up in understanding it.
If you've ever seen one of his films, you know exactly what I mean.

If you haven't seen any of his films, you have about as much chance of figuring them out as you have of speed reading Finnegan's Wake for tomorrow's final exam.

When he was about 30 years old, Alain Robbe-Grillet abandoned his scientific career to become an author. Ten years later, he dropped his career as a novelist and decided to become a filmmaker. A true Renaissance intellectual.


Lots and lots of full-frontal nudity from Christine Boisson, Anicee Alvina, and plenty of others in the brothel. Others in the cast include": Nathalie Zeiger, Joelle Coeur, Sylvia Kristel, and Agostina Belli.
He has received considerable acclaim from the refined European intellectual/artistic community, but many others consider him to be the ultimate Unclothed Emperor.

I will say this. I have seen Last Year at Marienbad, for which he wrote the screenplay that Alain Resnais directed. It is opaque, affected, repetitive, mannered, and probably the single most pretentious movie is the history of films. It is also a masterpiece of black and white photography, but we can't give Robbe-Grillet any credit for that because he didn't direct it.

Most people who see it clips from it laugh, since they think that it is a parody of the experimental artistic cinema of Europe, but it is not. The filmmakers meant for you to take it seriously, and many people have done so, and have even praised it. The essence of the film is probably the pictorialization of artificiality, life with all the energy stripped away from it, reduced to nothing but convention. Intellectuals argue that this movie does a brilliant job of portraying that.

Which means that you're just going to love it if you really would like to see two hours of lifeless artificiality.

On the more sensible side, the Medved's picked it as one of the worst 100 movies ever made.

And they may have overrated it a bit.

DVD info from Amazon.

This film is not currectly available from any publisher on DVD or VHS. TomCat's captures came from a European television broadcast.

Anyway, we're not talking about Marienbad here, but "Le jeu avec le feu". here's the premise:

A banker is upset by the reported kidnapping of his daughter (Anicee Alvina). Although he knows she is actually safe, the kidnappers did successfully kidnap someone that they think to be his daughter, so she is in danger. He hires a sleazy private eye to take his daughter underground so she cannot be found by the kidnappers. The shamus decides to hide her in a specialty brothel that caters to expensive and elaborate fantasies. While she is there, she's seduced and tortured by a lookalike for her own father. Eventually, she and the seedy private eye concoct a scheme to get the ransom money from daddy for themselves, and they flee the brothel.

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  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1 out of 10

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