Wages of Fear

“An existential thriller - the most original and shocking French melodrama of the fifties. The opening sequence shows us a verminous South American village and the Europeans trapped in it; they will risk everything to get out. Four of them take the job of driving two truckloads of nitroglycerine over three hundred miles of primitive roads. Their varied responses to the grueling test of driving the trucks reveal their characters, but when you can be blown up at any moment only a fool believes that character determines fate. In this situation, courage and caution are almost irrelevant, and ordinary human responses are futile and archaic - yet nothing else is left. If this isn't a parable of man's position in the modern world, it's at least an illustration of it. Clouzot's most controversial film, it is also his most powerful; the violence is not used simply for excitement - it's used as in Eisenstein's and Bunuel's films: to force a vision of human experience. Grand Prix at Cannes....”

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