(L'AGGRESSION, ACT OF AGGRESSION)
France, 1975, 101 minutes, Colour.
Jean- Louis Trintignant, Catherine Deneuve, Claude Brasseur, Milena Vukotic.
Directed by Gerard Pires.
Aggression is a French drama of the mid-'70s. It resembles Death Wish in many ways: the obsessed husband pursuing the alleged killers on the road of his wife and daughter. While not so slick in its presentation as Death Wish, it is nonetheless still in the violent vigilante mould. However, this film develops characters more strongly - and less likeably - than in the American versions. The irony is, at the end, that the people being pursued are not the murderers.
The film has a strong cast led by Jean- Louis Trintignant and Catherine Deneuve.
1. The title and its indication of themes, character, exploration of human aggression?
2. French film-making in the 1980s? Location photography, the roads, the cafes, homes? The editing and pace of action sequences on the road?
3. The moral stance of the film? Comparisons with American vigilante films and Death Wish? The exploration of aggression? The irony of the mistake of the hero?
4. The theme of aggression, in the human spirit, emotionally, in a deadly manner? Paul and his aggression on the road, competitiveness, the machine and his use of it? His aggression towards Sarah, sexual aggression? His aggression towards the bikies and his relentless pursuit of them? Sarah and her aggression in her marriage, towards Paul, towards the bikies?
5. Paul and the basic situation, Helene and Patti in the car, his driving and aggression, a typical situation? The accident, his coming to consciousness, his battered wife and daughter? The credibility of his anger and aggression? and their chasing the car? The bashing? The audience making the
same presumptions as Paul?
6. Paul, the police, the magistrate and the insinuations and interrogation? Sarah's arrival? their relationship? Drink? Sexual liaison and obsession? The encounter with the bartender and discussing the situation? Their plans? His help? Weapons? The bikies and their second attack? The generation of aggressive feelings (and on the part of the audience)? The attack on the bikies? The irony of Paul being mistaken? The truth?
7. Catherine Deneuve and her portrait of Sarah, her life, husband, sexuality, boredom, the encounter with Paul, helping him, used, her experience at the end?
8. The irony of the man at the bar, his friendship, the weapons, his madness, the tape, the truth?
9. Interesting themes, exploration of aggression, eliciting aggression on the part of the audience? The French sensibility?