This week, our writers were once again confronted with the task of discussing a film that resides outside the norms of film criticism. The bizarre and at often times difficult to watch LA RUPTURE (Claude Chabrol 1970) creates a hectic, drug-addled experience from start to finish which only increases in confusion as the rules of cinematic editing are loosened throughout its running time. The chaos that ensues will no doubt allow room for an stimulating debate with our writers.
RUPTURING THE SENSES
LA RUPTURE (Claude Chabrol 1970) begins with a rattle of the senses, living up to its namesake as it subverts the conventions of a slow-burn set-up to the story and instead introduces two of its primary characters in a spectacularly sudden incident. However, before this, the film opens with the foreboding words: “What utter darkness suddenly surrounds me?” spoken by French dramatist Jean Racine who was known for combining elements of comedy and tragedy. These words have instant connotations of unexpectedness and subversion from conventional modes of storytelling as the opening scene plays out and, in hindsight, acts as a warning for the viewer. They also attest to the overall theme of surprise and suspense throughout the film where there is rarely any warning or exposition as to the fate of these characters.
We are introduced to our main protagonist Hélène (Stéphane Audran), as she prepares her son’s breakfast. Her husband Charles (Jean-Claude Drouot) stumbles out from another room and without warning or incitement, assaults his wife and subsequently their son (Laurent Brunschwick). This startling event, both for Hélène and the audience, immediately fractures the subtle introduction previously set up to provide an unpredictable series of events that later unfold. The tenacious start to the film immediately poses several questions to the spectator as there is no explanation for Charles’ actions. But before the audience can even begin to speculate the reasons for his sudden burst of violence against his wife, he lifts his son into the air and throws him against a nearby table. At this point, the film surpasses questions of domestic abuse and instead invites the audience to question the unpredictable direction of the film itself.
LA RUPTURE sets out to do exactly what its title suggests: rupture the conventions of story set-up and defy the expectations of its audience to provide a fresh and unexpected thriller that never truly explains itself, a trademark style that Chabrol utilised throughout his career. In doing so, it maintains the suddenness and confusion that a breach of any kind usually presents.
Every day this week a different writer will provide their perspective on our MUBIVIEWS film and each post will be open to comments from our readers. Watch LA RUPTURE on mubi.com until 5 May 2017 and join the discussion!
One MUBI film, five perspectives, endless possibilities.