J'accuse...: Henri-Georges Clouzot's Judging of Morality in La Vérité

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J'accuse...: Henri-Georges Clouzot's Judging of Morality in La Vérité

Type: Master thesis
Title: J'accuse...: Henri-Georges Clouzot's Judging of Morality in La Vérité
Author: Heidenrath, Ingrid
Issue Date: 2017-05-31
Keywords: Henri-Georges Clouzot
(French) film/ cinema
La Verite
crime of passion
French legal system
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to examine Henri-Georges Clouzot’s questioning of French morality in La Vérité (1960). La Vérité, which translates as The Truth, is not merely a courtroom drama about a crime passionnel; a closer look reveals that this film directed by Clouzot does not aim to judge its accused; instead, it is society’s morality that is put on trial. Viewing La Vérité resembles being prosecuted for lack of self-reflection. Clouzot holds up a mirror to the audience who are helplessly subjected to witnessing how Dominque Marceau becomes entangled deeper and deeper in a web of moral prejudice and prejudgement, only to realise that the spider is not solely the président des assises, nor the jury; it is primarily the observer who is responsible for Marceau’s predicament. In short, the truth seems susceptible to moral standards, but how, then, is the truth in fact true? And, moreover, how can truth and justice be compatible when morality interferes? Obscured by a dramatic veil of passion and beauty, these are questions that Clouzot presents his 1960s French audience and, although it was over fifty years ago, these are still very relevant questions to address. By means of his inconclusive subtlety, Clouzot asks for an active-reflexive commitment to his pursuit and he expects the viewer to put in effort and contribute by taking a standpoint through active reasoning and reflective thinking. Although engaging and innovative, La Vérité leaves a bitter taste as the ending is disquieting to an audience who accept the mirror that Clouzot is handing and take a close and honest look at its reflection.
Supervisor: Verstraten, P.W.J.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Literary Studies (Master)
Specialisation: English Literature and Culture
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/49714

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