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Film / The Truth (1960)

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The Truth (French title: La Vérité) is a 1960 French courtroom drama film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Brigitte Bardot.

Bardot plays Dominique Marceau, who’s being tried for murdering an ex-lover. Various testimonies reveal her as an irresponsible young woman who moves to Paris with her sister Annie, a promising, serious music student. Dominique starts seeing Annie’s colleague Gilbert, an aspiring maestro, and things go downhill from there.


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Tropes:

  • Betty and Veronica: Gilbert (Archie) is in a love triangle with Annie (Betty), a serious, hard-working and wise girl, and Dominique (Veronica), a promiscuous, provocative and unfaithful girl. At first, Gilbert chooses Dominique, but he finally dumps her and gets engaged with Annie.
  • Bungled Suicide: Dominique has quite a history of attempting to kill herself and failing due to someone's timely intervention, leading the prosecution to accuse her of doing it just to get attention.
    • When her parents refuse to let her go to Paris, she tries to kill herself by swallowing drugs. She survives.
    • After Gilbert definitely dumps her, she wants to kill herself with a gun in front of him. She finally shoots him down. Since she has no bullet left, she tries to kill herself by inhalating gas. She is saved by the firemen.
    • In the end, she tries to cut her veins in prison, but she is still alive the next morning and brought to the hospital. Subverted because she finally dies.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the start of the movie, Dominique sees herself in a mirror in prison. At the end, she shatters that mirror and uses a shard to kill herself (successfully this time).
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  • Classical Music Is Boring: Dominique thinks that classical music is boring. So, she thinks that her sister and Gilbert are boring because they play classical music. Partially Subverted because she is charmed by Gilbert when he is conducting an orchestra.
  • Conversation Cut: The movie is fond of this. Quite a number of conversations between Dominique and Gilbert involve one asking a question, the scene changing, and the other one answering and the conversation keeps going.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Gilbert is jealous and he constantly thinks that Dominique cheats on him, even if in reality she cheats on him only once, which is not much for a promiscuous girl like her. Gilbert is violent with Dominique when he realizes that she cheated on him with Jérôme.
  • Destructive Romance: Dominique and Gilbert constantly quarrel when they are in a relationship. When Gilbert breaks up, Dominique is an Empty Shell. The ultimate consequences of their relationship are the murder of Gilbert by Dominique and Dominique's suicide.
  • Downer Ending: Dominique kills herself in prison. The prosecution finds no satisfaction in that.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Dominique and Annie. The former is a hedonist who dropped out of school and has no long-term plans, while Annie is seriously working on her music career.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Dominique is being tried for murdering Gilbert, so you already know the flashback sequences will end with him dying.
  • Framing Device: The trial of Dominique for the murder of Gilbert is used as a framing device to recount her story.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Dominique and her sister don’t get along at all.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Before killing herself for real, Dominique writes a suicide letter, which is read in court.
  • How We Got Here: The story starts as Dominique's trial begins. Then there are several Flashbacks that recount her story.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Inverted. Gilbert is supposedly the only man the promiscuous Dominique has ever loved.
  • Laughing Mad: Dominique laughs in insanity immediately after killing Gilbert.
  • Law Procedural: The movie is about the trial of Dominique before the Assize Court.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Dominique is promiscuous, provocative and lazy. Her sister Annie is serious, hard-working and wise.
  • Love at First Sight: Gilbert immediately falls for Dominique when he meets her. (To be fair, she is naked in her bedsheets and she is jiggling.)
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Gilbert is in a love triangle with Dominique, a very promiscuous girl, and her sister Annie, a very serious girl.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Gilbert thinks that Dominique cheats on him with the owner of the bar because he drives her home every day. He breaks up with her because of that.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Gilbert falls for Dominique (and he forgets the wiser Annie) even if he knows that she is promiscuous. He even tells her that he loves her even if she has many faults. Deconstructed because Dominique's prmiscuity makes him jealous and he finally breaks up with her because of that. In the end, Dominique is miserable.
  • Naked First Impression: Dominique is naked in her bedsheets when she meets Gilbert for the first time. She does not give a damn about it.
  • Opposites Attract: Gilbert and Dominique fall in love with each other, even if they are very different. Dominique is superficial, lazy and promiscuous, while Gilbert is hard-working and serious. Deconstructed because they constantly quarrel because of that when they are in a relationship.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gilbert’s friend is convinced that Dominique will try something against him after hearing she’s bought a gun. Gilbert dismisses the thought, but as it turns out, his friend was right.
  • Really Gets Around: Dominique sleeps with many men. During her relationship with Gilbert, she cheats on him only once, which shows that she really loves him.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: When Gilbert comes to her flat for the first time, Dominique perfectly understands that he will be aroused if he sees her naked, but she does not give a damn about it.
  • Shoutout: Dominique is described as immoral during her trial because she read The Mandarins, a 1954 novel by Simone de Beauvoir (Jean-Paul Sartre's partner).
  • Sibling Triangle: Dominique and her sister Annie both loves Gilbert. Annie is interested in him when he meets Dominique. Then Gilbert starts a relationship with Dominique and Annie is jealous. After Gilbert breaks up with Dominique, he makes up with Annie and gets engages with her. Dominique tries to win him back.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: When she meets Gilbert and starts a relationship with him, Dominique refuses to have sex with him at first, even if she is very promiscuous and she sleeps with another guy during this period (the biker).
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: In the end of the trial, Dominique's lawyer tells that it is not her fault if all the males want to possess her, implying that her beauty is the cause of her behaviour and her misfortune.
  • Spoiled Brat: Dominique is stated to have been pampered as a child. As a result, she’s pretty childish and threatens to commit suicide every time she doesn’t get her way.
  • The Un Favourite: Dominique pretends that her parents always favoured her sister Annie.

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