Going Places (1974 film)
Going Places is a 1974 French comedy-drama film co-written and directed by Bertrand Blier, and based on his own novel. Its original title is Les Valseuses, which translates into English as "the waltzers" (female), a vulgar French slang term for "the testicles". It stars Miou-Miou, Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere.
|Directed by||Bertrand Blier|
|Screenplay by||Bertrand Blier |
|Based on||Les Valseuses by Bertrand Blier|
|Produced by||Paul Claudon|
|Edited by||Kenout Peltier|
|Music by||Stéphane Grappelli|
|Box office||$42.9 million|
It is one of the most controversial films in French cinema due to its vulgarity, depiction of sexual acts, nudity and moral ambiguity; however, Blier's later acclaim for the rest of his filmography made it a cult film for modern critics.
Jean-Claude and Pierrot harass and sexually assault an older woman in a banlieue, steal her purse and run away. After they evade their pursuers, they loot the purse but are disappointed to find almost no money. They steal a Citroën DS for a joyride. When they bring it back at night, the owner awaits them with his gun drawn. Pierrot runs away but is shot in the groin. Jean-Claude overpowers the owner, stealing the gun and the car and also kidnapping Marie-Ange, the woman the owner was with. After picking up Pierrot, they drive to a car mechanic they know to exchange the stolen DS for another car, offering the mechanic the chance to rape Marie-Ange, who seems apathetic. Leaving with the other car, Jean-Claude and Pierrot force a doctor at gunpoint to treat Pierrot's wounds, which are only superficial. They steal the doctor's money and flee.
When they come back to the mechanic, he is angry that Marie-Ange was totally passive and apathetic during the rape. Pierrot fears that he has become impotent because of his wounds and suggests sabotaging the steering of the DS before giving it back to the owner, imagining him having an accident on a winding road. They go through with the plan and let Marie-Ange go, but not before getting her address.
Jean-Claude and Pierrot go to the country, stealing bicycles and a car from locals. When they have to stop at a train crossing and see police arriving, they flee their car and enter the almost empty train. They encounter a young woman who is breastfeeding her child and force her to let Pierrot suck on her breasts. This arouses all three and they begin to have sex, before the woman notices that she has to leave the train at the station, where her husband is waiting.
After encountering police on the train station, Jean-Claude and Pierrot decide to lay low and go to a deserted coastal resort, where they break into a vacation home to stay there. They notice that the home belongs to a family of three, with a daughter named Jacqueline. After finding Jacqueline's bathing suit, they smell it gleefully and estimate that she must be around 16 years old.
They return to Marie-Ange and force her to have sex with both of them, Pierrot again being able to get an erection. She again is totally passive, frustrating both. She also tells them that the car owner has sold his sabotaged DS.
With the help of Marie-Ange, they break into the hair salon she works at. When she requests to be kissed and begins screaming and throwing things, they shoot her in the leg and leave her bound in the salon.
When their plan of seducing young women fails, Jean-Claude suggests that an inmate in a women's prison would be sexually starving. They wait at the entrance of a prison and see Jeanne be released. They follow her and suggest helping her, which confuses Jeanne. While they are arguing at a roadside, Jean-Claude scares away a driver with his gun, which amuses Jeanne. Jean-Claude hands her his gun, saying that she can trust them. They give her money to buy some clothes, bring her to the beach and have a lavish oyster dinner with her. On the car ride, Jeanne passionately kisses both. All three check into a hotel and have passionate sex. When Jean-Claude and Pierrot are sleeping, Jeanne, seemingly content, commits suicide by shooting herself in the groin. Jean-Claude and Pierrot take the gun and Jeanne's belongings and flee the hotel.
When going through her belongings, they notice through her correspondence that she has a son named Jacques, who is also in jail. When he is released several weeks later, Jean-Claude and Pierrot tell him that Jeanne asked them to help him. They bring him to a cottage where Marie-Ange is waiting and suggest that he should have sex with her. They are upset when they hear Marie-Ange seemingly reaching orgasm. Afterwards, she explains that it was the timidity and awkwardness of the virgin Jacques which aroused her.
Later, Jacques suggests robbing an elderly person and asks for their gun to do it. Jean-Claude and Pierrot accompany him. They are shocked when the person is one of Jacques' prison wardens. Jacques berates and shoots the warden and Jean-Claude and Pierrot flee with Marie-Ange. After stealing another car, Marie-Ange has sex with each of them while driving, now seemingly enjoying it very much.
After Jean-Claude and Pierrot learn that they are wanted for the murder, they want to leave Marie-Ange so that she is not connected to this crime, but she refuses. So the three continue on the road, stealing cars and trying to hitch-hike. When they encounter a family in the countryside, they force them to exchange cars, their old stolen Citroën Traction Avant against a new DS, identical to the sabotaged one. The daughter of the family is amused by the situation and suggests their parents accept the deal. When she is hit by her father she breaks down and requests the three to take her with them, which they do. When they find out that she is still a virgin, they deflower her with her consent. They note that her name is Jacqueline and when they smell her vagina they are sure that this is the Jacqueline whose bathing suit they found in the vacation home.
Later they drop her off on the roadside and continue on. The film ends with the three driving at high speed with the DS along a winding road.
- Gérard Depardieu as Jean-Claude
- Miou-Miou as Marie-Ange
- Patrick Dewaere as Pierrot
- Brigitte Fossey as The woman on the train
- Dominique Davray as Ursula / Suzanne
- Isabelle Huppert as Jacqueline
- Jacques Rispal as The watchman
- Jeanne Moreau as Jeanne Pirolle
- Sylvie Joly as Owner of the stolen car
- Gérard Jugnot as The holiday maker
- Thierry Lhermitte as The doorman
Bertrand Blier based the screenplay on his own novel Les Valseuses, which had been published by éditions Robert Laffont in 1972. The film was produced by CAPAC, UPF and Prodis. Principal photography took place from 16 August to 24 October 1973. Locations were used in Valence, Drôme.
The film premiered in France on 20 March 1974. It was released in the United States on 13 May the same year and the United Kingdom on 23 October 1975. The film had a total of 5,726,031 admissions in France where it was the third highest-grossing film of the year.
In 1974, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "Despite its occasional charm, its several amusing moments and the touching scenes played by Jeanne Moreau, Going Places is a film of truly cynical decadence. It's also, not incidentally, the most misogynistic movie I can remember; its hatred of women is palpable and embarrassing. [...] I came away from Going Places feeling that I'd spent two hours in the company of a filmmaker I would never want to meet."
Pauline Kael, on the other hand, writing in The New Yorker, said that "Going Places was perhaps the first film from Europe since Breathless and Weekend and Last Tango in Paris to speak to us in a new, first hand way about sex and sex fantasies; it did it in a terse, cool, assured style...with a dreamy sort of displacement."
In 1990, when the film was re-released in Los Angeles cinemas, Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Blier has gone on to a notable and distinctive career, but as worthy (and quirky) as his subsequent films have been, none have packed the punch of his debut film, which he based on his own novel. [...] The road/buddy movie was scarcely new 16 years ago, but Blier's strategies in the telling of his sexual odyssey remain fresh, outrageous and inspired." Thomas continued: "Jean-Claude is the precursor of all the earthy, passionate men Depardieu has brought to life on the screen. What's more, Blier is interested more in Jean-Claude and Pierrot as sexual chauvinists than as petty criminals, and as they learn to be more considerate lovers they become more likable. Above all, they embody the sure-fire appeal of all movie anti-heroes, free spirits who live entirely for the moment and at all times follow their impulse."
- JP. "Les Valseuses ()". JP's Box-Office (Version Mobile) (in French). Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "Valseuse". Reverso. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- "Les Valseuses : tourné en Bourgogne". PATRIMOINE avec les yeux de Francesca. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "Fiche du film". dewaere.online.fr. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "Bertrand Blier livre quelques pépites sur "Les Valseuses"". Europe 1. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "Bon anniversaire Gérard Depardieu - cinema - Télé 2 semaines". www.programme.tv/news. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "Les Valseuses". bifi.fr (in French). Cinémathèque Française. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- "Les Valseuses (1974) - JPBox-Office". www.jpbox-office.com. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- Ebert, Roger (1974-05-13). "Going Places". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- "Bertrand Blier" by Pauline Kael. The New Yorker. October 16, 1978. Reproduced in The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael edited by Sanford Schwartz. The Library of America, 2011.
- Thomas, Kevin (1990-08-10). "Movie Review: A Sexual Odyssey in 'Going Places'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-05-10.