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Juste Avant La Nuit [1971] [DVD]

Celia , Marina Ninchi , Claude Chabrol    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £18.98
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Product details

  • Actors: Celia, Marina Ninchi, Michel Bouquet, Stéphane Audran, François Périer
  • Directors: Claude Chabrol
  • Writers: Claude Chabrol, Edouard Atiyah
  • Producers: André Génovès, Felice Testa Gay
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Arrow
  • DVD Release Date: 25 July 2005
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009V2A4Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,961 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Psychological crime drama directed by Claude Chabrol. Successful professional Charles Masson (Michel Bouquet), married and with a loving family, has been having a secret affair with his neighbour's wife Laura (Anna Douking). Finding with Laura the outlet he needs for his sadomasochistic urges, during one liaison Charles goes too far and ends up strangling her. Unsuspected of the crime, and with no evidence linking him to the murder, Charles has apparently escaped justice. It soon proves impossible for him to escape the urgings of his own conscience, but when Charles confesses his responsibility for the killing to his wife and Laura's husband, he finds them strangely unconcerned.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games goes too far. Dazed, Charles walks out of the borrowed apartment in Paris and soon bumps into François in a nearby bistro. They drive back together to Versailles, where they have beautiful neighboring houses designed by François. The owner of the apartment had seen Laura and Charles together two months earlier, but she does not tell the police on the advice of François. Even though the police do not seem to have any clues to the crime, Charles has a difficult time coping with the situation, and trying to live a normal life with his two children and loving wife Hélène. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Just Before Nightfall ( Juste avante la nuit ) ( Sul far della notte )

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and Melancholic 5 Aug 2005
By Colin C
Juste Avant la Nuit nas never, to my knowledge, been released on either video or DVD in the UK before. It's here now though, on a basic (no extras) DVD and is well worth buying.
Rather than being a murder mystery or detective thriller, it is about a man who accidentally kills, can't cope with his guilt, eventually confesses, and is surprised to learn that his discreetly charming bourgeoisie wife and best friend don't really care that much. So much for the plot - the real wonders of this film lie in its sheer aesthetic beauty - from the elegance of the camera movements, to the brilliant score (if only it was available on CD) by Pierre Jansen, to the perfectly pitched performances. The last 15 minutes or so are deeply strange and also quite moving.
Overall, this is a forgotten gem of French cinema by a great director at the peak of his powers. Most of Chabrol's work from 1968-1975 is comparable with any of the better known auteurs who are idolised today, and this one is strongly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Chabrol's very best 26 Feb 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Juste Avant La Nuit/Just Before Nightfall is one of Claude Chabrol’s very best despite a few uncertain moments in the opening scenes (Michel Bouquet and sunglasses just don’t go together). Rather than the crime itself (which happens offscreen during the titles), the film is concerned with the effects on the (possibly) accidental murderer as his constantly frustrated need to unburden himself punishes him far more than the law ever could. If it’s a little hard to believe the distant and somewhat constipated Bouquet is so universally admired and loved by his wife and best friend that they not only forgive but urge him not to confess to the murder he gradually drip feeds them details about, he’s completely convincing as a man who wants to be punished and judged but can’t even convince the spouse of his victim to do so.
The film has been beautifully thought through, and throughout Chabrol renders his struggle to confess in intriguing cinematic terms – at one point we hear him confess in voice over only for no sounds to emerge from his lips when they finally do move. He makes great use of the unique architecture of Bouquet’s modernist house (which gets a well-deserved screen credit of its own), with its bedroom a virtual stage with its own curtains dividing it from the rest of the house, benefiting from some amazingly good camerawork boasting some incredibly well timed shots that reveal and reflect state of mind as well as action. Stephane Audran is exceptionally good as his wife, while Francois Perier (best remembered as the fatalistic cop in Le Samourai) offers warmly convincing support in what should be an increasingly impossible part. Highly recommended.
Arrow's DVD has no extras but offers a more than acceptable widescreen transfer with optional English subtitles
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a splendid, under-stated psychological thriller 30 Sep 2011
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Chabrol is an acquired taste: his films are slower than AMerican thrillers and much of the action and nuance are below the surface, to be plumbed by the perceptive viewer. You will not get Hitchcock suspense, but a psychological journey whose signposts are devastating extremes of behavior. This is without doubt one of his best early films.

The film begins with a terrible scene, a sex game played out by surreptitious lovers who play at humiliation, sadism, and violent fantasy. The chief protagonist, Michel Bouquet, appears exhausted by life, bored by his apparently loving family, and unable to extricate himself from his affair with his best friend's wife. Unsure of what happened exactly - he strangles his lover for real - he leaves their trysting place and attempts to re-enter his life, but can't.

**spoiler alert** Bouquet suffers enormous guilt for his action and wonders if it was an accident or simply to get out of the liaison he couldn't end. Meanwhile, he goes through the motions of his life, consoling the grieving husband, working at his meaningless job, and fulfilling his familial obligations. While there are indications that he was involved, none of it alerts the police and so it appears that he can get away with it. Nonetheless, he sinks into a depression so deep that he confesses to his apparently adoring wife, Audran, who is stunning in her prime.

This can be told without spoiling the film experience, in my opinion, because what is most important are the questions that the film raises. Why does the wife not want him to confess to the police? Why is she unfazed that he confesses to her of a sado-masochistic affair?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understated masterclass 4 July 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very difficult to imagine a film like this being made in the English-speaking world: the pace, certainly for the first half of the film, is almost antagonisingly slow; doesn't make any concessions to the viewer with a short attention span. But the perfectly placed revelations in the plot, the charisma of the actors and the director's communication of atmosphere become increasingly involving, intellectually and emotionally. It's a subtle, morally complex film which is also extremely watchable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple story excellently acted 24 Sep 2007
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
This film is an example of how a relatively simple story can be transformed into something memorable by excellent acting and an outstanding director. French films seem to excel at this.
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