The Color of Lies (1998)

by | Sep 12, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Color of Lies (1998)

Directed by: Claude Chabrol
Starring: Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacques Gamblin
Studio: Kimstim/Kino Video
Video: Enhanced for 16:9, color
Audio: PCM stereo, French
Subtitles: English
Extras: Making-of documentary on the Color of Lies; Presentation by
film scholar Joel Magny; Original French theatrical trailer; Stills
Length: 113 minutes
Rating: ****

This feature is part of a major series of Chabrol films — mostly from
the 90s — which are being released by Kino Video. The title and plot
interested me, and I must admit that halfway thru I realized it had
also interested me in l998 when I saw it in a theater!  However, I
had completely forgotten how the two murders in the film were solved,
so I enjoyed it even more the second time around. The setting is a
small seacoast village in Brittany and at center is a couple consisting
of a washed-up artist and his working wife who supports him, while
conducting a brief liason with a self-important local celebrity writer.
One of the artist’s young pupils is found murdered and the new female
police chief suspects the artist. We meet other interesting characters
in the village: a smalltime crook, an odd couple, a policeman friend of
the artist who was passed over for police chief job by the
newly-arriving woman.

Though the film is rather slow moving, it works as a feeling of
suspense and doom is engendered by repeated references to and actual
portrayals of various large and small lies by the different characters.
The artist suspects something going on between his wife and the
celebrity writer and invites the writer to dinner with them — a scene
fraught with tension. Chabrol is fascinated with the relationship
triangle and returns to variations on it as his main theme in film
after film, coming up with gripping new twists each time. The image
transfer is excellent, with the overcast and sometimes foggy
environment beautifully  photographed.  The documentary
reveals much about Chabrol’s directing style and his reputation as “the
French Hitchcock.”  He even looks a bit like a French version of

— John Sunier  

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