PHILIPPE DE BROCA, CLAUDE CHABROL, JACQUES DEMY, SYLVAIN DHOMME, JEAN-LUC GODARD, EDOUARD MOLINARO, ROGER VADIM, MAX DOUY
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original Title: Les sept péchés capitaux
France/Italy, 1962. Films Gibé, Franco London Films, Titanus. Screenplay by Daniel Boulanger, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Jean-Luc Godard, Eugène Ionesco, Félicien Marceau, Claude Mauriac, Roger Peyrefitte, Roger Vadim. Cinematography by Henri Decae, Louis Miaille, Jean Penzer, Jean Rabier. Produced by Jean Lavie, Tonio Suné. Music by Sacha Distel, Pierre Jansen, Michel Legrand. Production Design by Max Douy, Bernard Evein. Film Editing by Jean Feyte, Jacques Gaillard.
Ten years after an omnibus film whose shorts each had one of the seven deadly sins as their theme, another collection is released using filmmakers newly breaking out in the French New Wave and actors who would become prominent in the years to come. Eugene Ionesco scripts the first, a voyage into absurdism on the subject of Anger, in which picture-perfect households are undone when each husband finds a fly in his soup and starts a fight that ends in chaos. Gluttony by That Man From Rio filmmaker Philippe de Broca sees a family traveling to a funeral of a relative who died from indigestion and are unable to get more than a few meters without stopping to eat, then arrive at the ceremony ready to gorge themselves on the funeral meal. Jean-Luc Godard brings his usual distaff sense of slick to Sloth, about a movie star so lazy that he tries to pay someone to tie his shoes for him, while Roger Vadim’s treatise on Pride is the best of all of them, about a woman who hates her husband’s infidelity but isn’t honest with herself about her own. Jacques Demy’s film on Lust is beautifully shot but avoids dealing with the actual subject (who on earth decided to give this topic to the man who delighted in showing eroticism in its most innocent light), following two buddies (Laurent Terzieff and Jean-Louis Trintignant) as they look up the meaning of lust in a Hieronymus Bosch painting; a flashback takes them back to when one of the friends was a child who confused the words lust (“Luxure”) and luxury (“luxe”). Edouard Molinaro (who would direct La Cage Aux Folles sixteen years later) directs Envy, a Careful What You Wish For fantasy about a hotel maid who covets a movie star’s life and achieves it, only to realize how wonderful it was being a maid. Claude Chabrol’s Greed, which ends the collection, is the only one that’s fully off base, a tale of a group of students who pool together their money to send one of them off to a night with a beautiful sex worker (her keeping the money isn’t because she’s greedy, Claude). None of the segments are bad but none of them are exceptional either, if you can handle a roll call of cute jokes for two hours you might have a good time, but as far as putting across anything memorable you could easily just watch Demy and Vadim’s segments and leave the rest behind; while not top efforts by either of them, they are at least going for some kind of storytelling and not just filming the set up for a contrived twist ending.