|Elina Labourdette does her best Cabaret during her whore period in Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) d. Robert Bresson.|
Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)
d. Robert Bresson
Criterion Collection #183
UM... yeah- when you see a film set in the mid 20th century but adapted from a play by Diderot, even if it's directed by Robert Bresson AND written by Jean Cocteau....run. Thatbe, is because Diderot, member of the enlightenment though he may, wrote plays about court life, and when you transpose that setting into the 20th century come across like manipulative monsters. See, for example, the teenspoiltation 90s classic Cruel Intentions.
The plot of Les dames do Bois de Boulogne revolves around the desire of spurned socialite Helene (Maria Casares) and her inexplicable desire for revenge on her younger lover, who she dumps in the opening scene. He responds to the dumping by saying he also doesn't like her, and I guess that is why she undertakes her insane quest for revenge. She tracks down the beautiful Agnes(Elina Labourdette) and her mom Madame D. The mother/daughter pair have recently come down in the world, and Agnes is literally a prostitute, when Helene offers to settle all their debts and get them an apartment in exchange for.... being her pawn in a twisted game she is playing with her unwitting ex.
So of course the ex falls for Agnes, and Agnes figures out what's going on, and her Mom tells her "tough shit, Helene owns us." And, I think Agnes dies in the end, but only after Helene has told her secret to the ex. I think that is how it ends.