HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Stavisky French Fraud Fame
Year: 1974
Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, François Périer, Anny Duperey, Michael Lonsdale, Roberto Bisacco, Claude Rich, Charles Boyer, Pierre Vernier, Marcel Cuvelier, Van Doude, Jacques Spessier, Michel Beaune, Maurice Jacquemont, Silvia Badescu, Gérard Depardieu
Genre: BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1933 and the place is France, whose government has just granted asylum to the left wing politician Leon Trotsky (Yves Peneau) after his persecution in the Soviet Union, but persecution is beginning to be the state of politics in Europe. The businessman and theatre impresario Serge Stavisky (Jean-Paul Belmondo) carries on as usual, throwing money around like water, denying the social climate is growing darker by the day, but then his denial is part of his character as he plans his cabal of business leaders, not realising that his essentially fraudulent stock dealings are about to spell his downfall...

Stavisky was a real person, and incredibly at the time his biopic was released there was still such ill-feeling towards him that many in France were against a movie with him as the subject, and it failed at the box office there. It was certainly one of its director Alain Resnais' least idiosyncratic works as he busied himself with an elegantly authentic recreation of the period rather than playing any narrative tricks, although we do flashforward more frequently towards the end to the enquiry into the whole mess that Stavisky was responsible for.

Yet while there was little doubt that he was a conman of the highest order and the source of a lot of people losing a lot of money, not to mention a resulting riot that nearly caused a civil war if this is to be believed (although a staging of that was beyond this film's budget), Resnais conveys an odd sympathy for the man. It's as if compared to the sheer hell that France and the other European nations around it were about to go through, the director felt that Stavisky was not as bad as he was depicted by history, and should even be forgiven because of his immense personal charm. As portrayed by Belmondo at the height of his powers, you can almost agree to that.

Stavisky was Jewish, not that he was prepared to discuss it in public or even private very much, so with the rise of the fascists at the time he was held up as an example of how the Jews were corrupting society when his crimes were exposed. You could argue to Resnais that he did far more harm than good and perhaps was not as open to salvation as he was shown here, yet in these hands he becomes a dreamer who dreamed too big, with those he fooled out of countless francs verging on being willing victims because they liked Stavisky so much. One such victim is Baron Raoul, played by another hugely engaging star, Charles Boyer in his penultimate film before his suicide.

Raoul is entranced by Stavisky's lifestyle and his beautiful wife Arlette (Anny Duperey), but even with this lavish approach, the spectre of death hangs over our anti-hero. Arlette has recurring dreams of them both in a car careering out of control down a steep hill to their doom, and the shadow of what happened to his Russian father who killed himself is something forever playing on his mind, fearing that it could all come crashing down about his ears and he will end up the same, which is pretty much what happens. Mind you, Resnais sustains a mystery about what really happened to Stavisky to better emphasise the sinister dealings occuring in the highest echelons of power as the extreme right takes advantage of the foothold that will eventually lead to the Second World War, so as much as that is illustrated, you can understand why perhaps the man was not all bad, and even something of a victim himself. It's a troubling film that leaves you with mixed feelings. Music by Stephen Sondheim.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4518 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: