Chabrol Day Seven: Coffee break
This opening from Les Biches (1968) is laced with quiet, smoldering tension which later envelopes these disparate, desperate characters. The director’s pet concerns with class conflict and power plays are handled by Jacqueline Sassard, her drifting street artist carrying the enigmatic, confusing and unlikely moniker ‘Why,’ the sad little waif as Playboy model; and Stéphane Audran’s Frédérique, a moneyed, impeccably tanned ice cube who lives for fleeting pleasures, control and consumption.
Twenty-eight at the time, Les Biches is Sassard’s last film to date. After Valerio Zurlini’s Violent Summer (1959) and a run of innocuous movies (including a pair of Steve Reeves fantasies), she appeared in Joseph Losey’s Accident (1967) before working with Chabrol. If anyone knows why she retired, or if she’s still alive, please leave a comment.