Sunday, February 23, 2014

Red Gloves

Claude Chabrol's film L'Ivresse du Pouvoir, released in 2006, starred Isabelle Huppert as a French judge caught up in prosecuting businessmen and politicians for corruption. Chabrol and Huppert made their first film together in 1978. He was 75 when they collaborated for the last time on this complex anti-establishment fable.

Chabrol cast the great character actor François Berléand (below) as Michel Humeau, arrested on the orders of "Madame le juge."

He will be the key to the intricate illegalities she continues to uncover.

Chabrol's screenplay, written collaboratively with Odile Barski, shows its strength in representing the crooked deal-maker as simultaneously an arrogant abuser of power and an unlucky scapegoat deliberately sacrificed by grander capitalist-villains who remain safely embedded within the French power-structure.

Rolling credits at the end of the movie attribute Isabelle Huppert's screen wardrobe to the house of Balenciaga, and identify her stylist as the head of that house, Nicolas Ghesquière (below). He is presumably responsible for the character's signature red leather gloves, seen so often that they take on an aura of somewhat sinister (if vague) symbolism.

After fifteen years as creative director at Balenciaga, Ghesquière was replaced by Alexander Wang in 2012. Balenciaga's parent company (a corporate conglomerate, naturally enough) is at present in the process of suing Ghesquière for an enormous sum, accusing him of making disparaging remarks after leaving Balenciaga and thus violating his separation agreement  A trial is set for July 2014.