Woman in Chains

The last but not the least: Clouzot's final foray into features takes us into another tortured love triangle to explore voyeurism and, by extension, the very gaze that so draws us to cinema. Josée (Elisabeth Wiener), the forlorn girlfriend of kinetic artist Gilbert, meets Gilbert's gallerist, the chic but kinky Stanislas Hessler (Laurent Terzieff). Stan's proclivity for the perverse soon surfaces when he reveals his hobby of photographing female nudes in S and M postures. Naturally, Josée succumbs to the temptation to pose, but finds she needs bonding not bondage. Enter the obsessive artist, Gilbert, and the triangulated trap is sprung. Like Peeping Tom released the same year, Woman in Chains uses the camera's gaze as a substitute for our own voyeuristic impulse, bombarding us with sexualized scenery. As the triangle is tripped up, Josée condemns the uncommitted Stanislas for hiding behind his camera, accusing him of not being just “a voyeur, but a blind one.” Clouzot was certainly not blind to the image and in the film's finale, we are met by a barrage of Op-Art eruptions returning us to primal sight.

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