JA from MNPP here. There are enough holes in the sweep of my cinematic knowledge that it doesn't so much resemble Swiss Cheese as it does what Swiss Cheese would resemble if pinned to a dartboard for weeks and then hung up in a shooting gallery and riddled with bullets and then fed through a paper shredder. (Because that's what one does with one's supply of figurative cheese, dontcha know?) Anyway I keep on keeping on, trying to play this undying game of movie catch-up, round and round we go. So when I share the following bit with you, I want you to keep this in mind: I very well could be the last person to have acquired this information on all of Planet Earth. So my own naive sense of discovery might seem... quaint. Just let me have my simple pleasures, I beg of you!
Last evening, I filled in one more gap in Roman Polanski's oeuvre that I've been trying to fill in: his 1966 flick Cul-de-sac. It's not readily available on DVD so it took some finagling. Anyway, Cul-de-sac sits in between Repulsion and The Fearless Vampire Killers in his out-put, and I have to say it's a stellar little seemingly-forgotten flick. Polanski's eye is per usual top notch, and there's just enough off-kilter weirdness to keep the proceedings, while superficially grim, really very funny.
The first thing I took notice of, though, was the female lead. She seemed familiar, but... not. I looked up her name and she's Françoise Dorléac... whom I'd never heard of. I investigated further (bless you, IMDb and Wikipedia) and found out she was Catherine Deneuve's older sister, and she was killed at the age of 25 in a car accident... the details are actually rather terrifying, so I must share:
"Francoise Dorléac was killed when she lost control of the rented Renault 10 she was driving and hit a sign post ten kilometers from Nice at the end of the Esterel-Côte d'Azur motorway. The car flipped over, and burst into flames. She had been en route to Nice airport and was afraid of missing her flight. Dorléac was seen struggling to get out of the car, but was unable to open the door. Police later identified her body only from the fragment of a cheque book, a diary and her driving license."
Horrible. She'd been in 21 films in just 7 years, including Polanski's Cul-de-sac, Truffaut's La peau douce, and Jacques Demy's The Girls of Rochefort, which she co-starred in with her sister. Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of my favorite movies ever, so Rochefort is a film I've been meaning to see for years... as Dorléac was very good in Cul-de-sac, I've got even more fire in me to catch her other work now.
Anyone a fan of her work? She was physically gorgeous to be sure, but also possessed something very real and human that translated wonderfully onto the screen. She fit the Polanski mold - later filled by Sharon Tate, Nastassja Kinski, Emmanuelle Seigner... so on - perfectly. It's a shame she seems to be rather forgotten.