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Film / Les Valseuses

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Les Valseuses (also known as Going Places in English-speaking countries) is a 1974 French comedy-drama film directed by Bertrand Blier, adapted from Blier's own novel, and starring Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, Jeanne Moreau, Miou-Miou, Brigitte Fossey, Dominique Davray, and Isabelle Huppert in her screen debut. The title is a colloquialism which roughly translates as balls. A major breakthrough for its main stars – Depardieu, Dewaere and Miou-Miou – the film was originally rated unsuitable for people under age 18 due to its explicit sexual content, though it was later downrated to 16.

Jean-Claude (Depardieu) and Pierrot (Dewaere) are two whimsical, aimless young thugs. They harass and assault women, steal money and cars... and alternately charm, fight and sprint their way out of trouble. Marie-Ange (Miou-Miou), a jaded, passive and frigid hairdresser assistant, joins them as lover, cook and mother confessor. She's on her own search for seemingly unattainable sexual pleasure.

The Jesus Rolls, an American remake directed by and starring John Turturro, was released in 2019. And it's a spinoff of The Big Lebowski. Make of that what you will.

Les Valseuses provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Auto Erotica: Averted when the two titular crooks pick up apathetic and terminally bored hairdresser Marie-Ange, who tags along for the ride. She informs them that she is incapable of an orgasm, whatever they do to her, either singly or collectively. The guys take this as a challenge. In one scene, Pierrot is less than enchanted at being the third wheel, driving their car around a French city by night whilst Jean-Claude makes love to Marie-Ange in the back seat, practically testing out the proposition. She does admit to a certain frisson of interest, but no orgasm.
  • Bilingual Bonus: the film's title. Les Valseuses can mean "The Dancers", as in two people performing a stately complex waltz. It is also colloquial demotic French that can be translated as "the balls", "the bollocks", "the goolies", "the knackers". The joke is that Pierrot and Jean-Clause are as closely entwined and inseperable as a pair of testicles and their close friendship is every bit as complex as a formal dance. And Jean-Claude does indeed get shot in, er, "les valseuses"....
  • Blatant Lies: Jean-Claude is prone to these.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Jacqueline (Isabelle Huppert), who mocks and scorns her ineffectual snobbish parents as they are being robbed by the guys, and decides to go willingly with them as anything is better than being with her parents and this seems more interesting.
  • The Charmer: Jean-Claude always tries to charm his way. It doesn't always work.
  • Cool Car: Pierrot and Jean-Claude "borrow" a Citroën DS, which was the epitome of French cool cars from about the 1950s to the 1980s. Then the car's owner doesn't take it well even as they drive it back to him, and shoots Pierrot in the groin.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jeanne Pirolle. It's not due to Jean-Claude and Pierrot though.
  • Emotionless Girl: Marie-Ange, at first, who is apathetic, bored, alienated, and in search of some sort of thrill. She goes along with them because it's marginally more interesting than her boring everyday life, but not by very much.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The two protagonists steal a car, have a joy ride... and drive it back to its owner. Said owner doesn't take it well anyway and ends up shooting Pierrot in the groin.
  • Ghost Town: The seaside resort where the boys go to ground after a robbery. It's out of season and completely empty.
  • Groin Attack: Pierrot is shot in the testicles. Fortunately for him, the bullet only hit the fat of his leg with minor damages to his testicles.
    • Jeanne commits suicide by shooting herself in the genitalia.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pierrot and Jean-Claude. It's a very intense brotherhood relationship between the two.
  • Hidden Depths: Jean-Claude and Pierrot may be thugs and crude perverts who harass women, steal money and vehicles, but they're also genuinely shocked when the old woman they made love to with genuine and loving passion commits suicide.
  • Ice Queen: Marie-Ange is frigid and emotionless, at first.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Pierrot, while recovering from the shot in his groin. He gets better.
  • Naked in Mink: Marie-Ange the first time she meets Jean-Claude and Pierrot. Her boss forced her to not wear underwear.
  • Three-Way Sex: First with Jean-Claude, Pierrot and Marie-Ange, then Jean-Claude, Pierrot and Jeanne. There's a foursome at the end with Jean-Claude, Pierrot, Marie-Ange and Jacqueline.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Pierrot wants to sabotage the front wheels of the stolen Citroën DS in the hope of exacting revenge for the shot in his groin.
  • Walking the Earth: Jean-Claude and Pierrot wander roads after dumping Marie-Ange.

Alternative Title(s): Going Places