Wedding in Blood (1973)

Is this thing still here? Bloody hell. Where were we again? Oh aye, Chabrol… time to break this hiatus or whatever the fuck that was and go for another romp with the “French Hitchcock”. Wedding in Blood is one of those stories of two unhappy couples where one partner from each forms a somewhat happier couple on the side. In this particular case, it’s Stéphane Audran (really, how did she stay married to Chabrol for so long when he kept giving her roles like this?) as Lucienne and Michel Piccoli as Pierre; she’s married to Paul, the town mayor, and he’s married to Clotilde, who’s kind of, well, dying or something, at the very least she’s got some sort of chronic illness. With Paul being preoccupied with his political ambitions and Clotilde with her health issues, the other two find love and consolation in each other’s arms. Whereupon Clotilde rather abruptly dies, but there’s more to this death than just, you know, years of suffering coming to a natural end… and both Lucienne and Pierre find there’s rather more to Paul than either of them had expected, especially when he confronts them over the affair. This is a bit of a slow burner, and the last third unfolds in a not especially unpredictable manner, but I still kind of liked the film and Chabrol does find some sympathy for Lucienne and Pierre in their respective plights and in the further holes they wind up digging themselves into. I like Ed Howard’s comments here about the weight of everyday life in Chabrol’s films and the way his characters are kind of trapped by the daily conventions they become stuck with, and that definitely resonates in this film’s ending when they’re asked why they didn’t just run away with each other and they admit they’d never even thought of that possibility. It’s what Howard calls the “anticlimactic brilliance” of the ending, and it imparts quite some sadness to the film.


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