Merci Pour Le Chocolat



aka Nightcap
France 2000
director : Claude Chabrol
script : Chabrol, Caroline Eliacheff (based on novel ‘The Chocolate Cobweb’ by Charlotte Armstrong)
cinematography : Renato Berta
editing : Monique Fardoulis
music : Matthieu Chabrol
lead actors : Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Anna Mouglalis, Rodolphe Pauly
99 minutes

In message <>, Mrs Sheila Seacroft
<> writes
>Went to see Merci pour le chocolat last night – v much enjoyed it, but
>WHY did she spill the chocolate in the first place???

Don’t ask me anything about this crazy picture. I think it’s one of those ” ‘why’ doesn’t come into it” affairs, to be dismissed with a Gallic (or should that be Swiss) shrug… Often I can be guilty of not paying full attention to some of these convoluted foreign movies, but here I was totally alert from start to finish! Constantly reaching forward trying to second guess the plot twists proved stimulating, though I of course failed miserably. Not totally my fault : like most cobwebs, picture is an intricate construction, mainly holes and air.

Liked the Hitchcock stuff involving her face (Queen Christina at the end?) and the prevailing Highsmithy mood (classical music – nice house – gradual slide from agreeable normality into, erm, psychosis?) and the old-fashioned direction suited the just-so Swissness of it all… But I couldn’t get over my amazement that they’d actually got (ex Italy footy boss) Cesare Maldini to play the pianist – don’t be taken in by this ‘Jacques Dutronc’ credit: it’s just a nom d’ecran, as they say in Lausanne.

for the full review please click here.

11th July, 2001
(seen Tyneside Cinema, Jul-11-01)
by Neil Young
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