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.
LA RUPTURE (Claude Chabrol 1970) sees Hélène (Stéphane Audran) and Charles’ (Jean-Claude Drouot) marriage tested following an argument, culminating in Charles attacking their young son Michel (Laurent Brunschwick) in a violent rage. While Hélène seeks to care for her injured son and save them both from her volatile husband, Charles’ father, Ludovic (Michel Bouquet), goes to extreme lengths to find proof that Hélène is an unfit mother as he attempts to ensure Charles gains custody of his son.
There is a lot to be explored in Hélène’s character and her presentation of femininity. She is vulnerable yet courageous; she is strong enough to fight relentlessly for her child, but is able to be emotionally broken just the same as any other person. This duality between courage and vulnerability mirrors the two sides of Hélène the audience is shown.
Charles’ parents discover that she was a stripper before she married and it is used as evidence that she is an incompetent mother, even though it was an aspect of her life she chose to put behind her and should not define her identity. This leaves Hélène suspended between two character tropes stereotypically associated with females: the undignified and immoral “whore” and the caring mother. She finds herself in the uncomfortable and unnecessary position of witnessing her past decisions and mistakes manipulate the new life she has chosen for herself and her child.
Regardless of her past as a sex worker, Hélène has done nothing wrong. She is presented to the audience as a good-natured and caring mother. However, Charles’ parents continuously criticise and exploit her due to her low social standing and wealth compared to their own. It is this commentary on Hélène’s own femininity that is a truly engaging aspect of LA RUPTURE, as she feels the weight of everyone’s preconceptions about her due to her past as she simply tries to save herself and Michel.
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.