This weekend’s double bill focuses on changing identities. Firstly from 1975 we have Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘The Passenger’ (Profession: Reporter) followed by Rene Clement’s 1960 ‘Plein Soleil’ (Purple Noon).
Whereas Jack Nicholson’s character David Locke adopts the identity of Robertson through his death early on in ‘The Passenger’ Alain Delon’s Tom Ripley murders Maurice Ronet’s Philip Greenleaf on board his yacht.
‘The Passenger’ tells the story of Locke running from all elements of his former life including his wife; ‘Plein Soleil’ gives us on screen for the first time the psychopath Ripley taking on the love, wealth and trappings of his victim.
Claude Chabrol's frequent collaborator in the '60s, Paul Gégauff, wrote the screenplay of Plein Soleil with director René Clément.
In Chabrol's Les Biches (1968), Gégauff employs a similar theme of merging personalities, and even borrows from the scene in Plein Soleil of Delon talking to himself (as the Ronet character) in the mirror.
In Les Biches, Jacqueline Sassard plays the weaker of the two personalities who eventually consumes her wealthy benefactor, portrayed by Stéphane Audran (Chabrol's wife at the time).
As a footnote, there's a chilling appearance by Gégauff in the lead role of Chabrol's uneasy Une partie de plaisir (1975), with his real-life wife, Danièle Gegauff, playing his character's wife. Eight years after the film came out, she stabbed him to death.
Thanks for this post, lots of additional information. I am a fan of Chabrol but his films aren’t that easy to get here anymore which is a real shame. They used to show them a lot on TV late at night. In fact we’d often watch his films at School; ‘Le Boucher’ seemed to always be popular.
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