In The flesh of the orchidbroadcast this Wednesday, August 10 at 8:55 p.m. on Arte, Claire (Charlotte Rampling, who remembered her beginnings in France), a wealthy heiress, escapes from the psychiatric asylum where she was locked up on the orders of her aunt, Madame Bastien-Wegener (Edwige Feuillère), who thus hoped to rob him of his fortune. In her flight, she meets Louis Delage (Bruno Cremer, who had been very tested by the filming of La 317e Section), a horse breeder, with whom she falls in love. Pursued by two killers, the Bérékian brothers, Louis is injured and finds himself on Madame Bastien-Wegener’s property. For her part, Claire, who has gone to seek help, is kidnapped by the Bérékian brothers, who entrust her to the care of a former circus artist, Lady Vamos (Simone Signoret)…
The flesh of the orchid : a beginning of notoriety for Patrice Chéreau
When, in 1975, he directed this first film, Patrice Chéreau, who died in 2013 causing a wave of tributes among artists, had just experienced immense success in the theater. Since its staging of The dispute de Marivaux in 1973, all of Paris is snapping up the services of a 30-year-old young man. On the other hand, his notoriety is still confined to the theatrical world, the general public does not yet know his name. Orchid Flesh will begin to make it known in particular because the film is nominated for two César in 1976, that of the best decorations and that of the best photography. But no tidal wave either. Adapted from the eponymous novel by James Hadley Chase, Orchid Flesh is not a mainstream film and may be confusing at first glance. However, a four-star cast, including the mysterious Charlotte Rampling and Bruno Cremer who died in 2010, and an ambitious staging make this film a success, worthy of the best thrillers. Above all, it marks the promising debut of Chéreau as a director who is already revealing his favorite themes, violence, passion, madness. A career as a filmmaker that will take its full extent a few years later.
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Soon the consecration with ISabelle Adjani
Because this first film, out of the eleven he will shoot until 2009, will allow him to gain momentum and make increasingly ambitious films, including Judith Therpauve in 1978 with Simone Signoret or The Wounded Man with Jean-Hugues Anglade in 1983. But it was in 1994 that Patrice Chéreau would experience public recognition with Queen Margot carried by the star of the time Isabelle Adjani, who recently denounced the attitude of certain directors. A rain of awards then fell on the film, including five César and two Cannes awards and nominations in the most prestigious competitions such as the Bafta, the Golden Globes or the Oscars. A success that will earn Chéreau many offers to work in Hollywood. Advances that he declines to continue his theatrical work in France and to stage operas, one of his passions. He will still know a great success with the choral film Those who love me will take the train in 1998 before returning to a more confidential cinema.
The flesh of the orchid is also available on arte.tv