Monday, 8 November 2010

The Poison of Youth. Claude Chabrol. Violette Nozière

presentation by Corry Shores
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[The following is quotation. My notes are in red.]

The Poison of Youth
Claude Chabrol
Violette Nozière

Chabrol Violette Nozière

Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 2: The Time Image
Cinéma 2: L'image-temps

Chapter III. From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
Chapitre III. Du souvenir aux rêves (troisième commentaire de Bergson)

2c: The two poles of the flashback: Carné, Mankiewicz
2c: Les deux pôles du flash-back : Carné, Mankiewicz

In Mankiewicz, the flashback always reveals its raison d'être in these angled accounts which shatter causality and, instead of dispersing the enigma, refer it back to still ever deeper ones. Chabrol will rediscover this power and use of the flashback in Violette Nozière, when he wants to indicate the heroine's continual forks, the variety of her faces, the irreducible diversity of the hypotheses (did she or did she not want to spare her mother, etc?) [ft.10] [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 48c]

Toujours chez Mankiewicz, le flash-back découvre sa raison d’être dans ces récits coudés qui brisent la causalité et, au lieu de dissiper l’énigme, la renvoient à d’autres énigmes encore plus profondes. Chabrol retrouvera cette force et cet usage du flash-back dans « Violette Nozière », quand il voudra marquer les bifurcations constantes de l’héroïne, la variété de ses visages, l’irréductible diversité des hypothèses (voulait-elle ou non épargner sa mère, etc. ?) [ft. 8]. [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985: 70b]

[Violette is only a teen, but she works as a prostitute. She falls in love with a man whom she supports by stealing from her parents and by selling herself. This man gives her syphilis. To cover for herself, she convinces her parents that she inherited it from them. She slowly feeds them poison, telling them that the doctor has prescribed a medicine for their sickness.

In this clip we will see at first a couple of flashbacks where there is a forking in her behavior and in the plot direction. So in these cases there is a moment of her acting deceptively or erratically that changes the course of the story. These forks mark themselves with the character of the past even while they are happening. It is very similar to what we saw in Mankiewicz, where the forks are memorable even as they happen, and thus they are like flashbacks in advance [See especially these entries on Barefoot Contessa, All About Eve, (also this one), A Letter to Three Wives, and Suddenly Last Summer]. So for example she sleeps with a man with syphilis, which is a fork in her behavior, and because it has far-reaching consequences, it is a fork in the story. That is what we see in the first flashback below.

Later we see how she ends up killing her father and nearly killing her mother. She explains to the authorities that she did not intend to kill her mother. But she did want to kill her father, she claims, because he molested her when she was younger. We see flashbacks which then make this explanation seem plausible. For example, we learn in one flashback that she remains silent when making love.]

Chabrol Violette Nozière

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time Image. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London & New York: The Athlone Press, 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris:Les éditions de minuit, 1985.

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