Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is on his deathbed. Looking at photographs brings memories of his childhood, his youth, his lovers, and the way the Great War put an end to a stratum of society. His memories are in no particular order, they move back and forth in time. Marcel at various ages interacts with Odette, with the beautiful Gilberte and her doomed husband, with the pleasure-seeking Baron de Charlus, with Marcel's lover Albertine, and with others; present also in memory are Marcel's beloved mother and grandmother. It seems as if to live is to remember and to capture memories is to create a work of great art. The memories parallel the final volume of Proust's novel.
Two whimsical, aimless thugs harass and assault women, steal, and alternately charm, fight, or sprint their way out of trouble. They take whatever the bourgeois characters value: whether it's cars, peace of mind, or daughters. Marie-Ange, a jaded, passive hairdresser, joins them as lover, cook, and mother confessor. She's on her own search for seemingly unattainable sexual pleasure.
Our 2 aimless drifters spend their time stealing cars or bicycles, roaming the French countryside, breaking into a house in an out-of-season resort, after Patrick has been shot in the groin by an irate car-owner they had stolen from. It is just a grazed testicle according to the doctor they force to treat him, before stealing his money. Without female company Gerard finds his pal attractive and forces himself on him, Dewaere doesn't complain too much ... soon they are back on the road, and taking their turns to satisfy the impassive Miou-Miou who tags along with them, but no matter what they do she cannot get aroused until .... Another time they follow a woman just leaving prison - Jeanne Moreau, whom they wine and dine and book into a hotel with, until she surprises them.... This is after that encounter with the young mother (Brigitte Fossey) breastfeeding her child on the train, on her way to meet her soldier husband, then there is the young Isabelle Huppert ....
This is not a movie for everyone's tastes, as our in your face delinquents commit outrage after outrage, but is wildly funny, and we had seen nothing like it back in 1974. They remain mean-spirited innocents at heart, rebels against the bourgeois, restrictive society they rail against.
I wouldn't want to know them, and do they humiliate women? Beefy boy Depardieu (before he piled on that recent weight) is as magnetic here as the young De Niro (they are both in Bertolucci's equally astonishing 1900 in '76) - the 2 top actors of their era. LES VALSEUSES (aka MAKING IT or GOING PLACES) is still one of the key French films of the Seventies.
Wealthy family the Lelievres have taken on the extremely efficient but strangely detached Sophie as their live-in maid. Her free time is spent alone in her room until she meets local postal clerk Jeanne who has a disturbed history and a grudge against Sophie'es new employers. As the pair begin to bond the family grow increasingly concerned. The happy family life listening to opera is contrasted with the mean, petty world the outsiders inhabit, as Sophie tries to conceal her illiteracy ...
Like IN COLD BLOOD it is a sombre story of what happens to a family and why ....... to say any more would spoil what is a gripping, engrossing film. Jacqueline Bissett as the poised lady of the house interacts nicely with Sandrine Bonnaire as Sophie and Isabelle Huppert as the dangerous Jeanne leading Sophie on, are all excellent here; it is a perfect late Chabrol, a thriller that builds in tension to a shocking and violent climax.