Glissements progressifs du plaisir (1974)

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Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Cast: Anicée Alvina, Michael Lonsdale, Olga-Georges Picot, Jean Martin, Jean-Louis Trintignant (uncredited)


When her friend is found tied to a metal bed, her breast pierced with a pair of scissors, a girl is placed in the custody of nuns and suspected of demonic possession. While there, she undoes the best efforts of the examining magistrate, her beautiful counsel and a priest, by flaunting her body and indulging her penchant for mythomania and sado-erotic fantasy.

The Review

Once again the writer-director agronomist toys with repeated narrative elements and motifs - eggs, a broken bottle, a blue shoe, a metal bed frame, the tying of hands, corpses exchanged for erotic dolls and mutilated, a murder victim who reappears as a lawyer and again becomes a victim - using Michelet's La sorcière as his inspiration: the victim confounds her tormentors with her physical charms. The guilt or otherwise of Alvina's character is of relative importance, naturally, when Robbe-Grillet's interest lies not in the whodunnit, but in the structural features, for example the ways in which he dresses the detective, lawyer or priest (or undresses his numerous attractive actresses), the deployment of convent cell, dank dungeon and bare apartment as décors, the legend of St Agatha, and so on. It is a cinema where action is reduced to tableau, props and sound are fetichised, dialogue is replaced by allusion and mantra, and in which eroticism is affectless and unconsummated. If that's your bag, then it is passably well put together and remarkably good-looking for only 500,000 francs.