xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Claude Chabrol's “A Piece Of Pleasure” is filled with rough edges, inexplicably embarrassing exchanges and silences that seem to mean more than they ought to. And maybe this is the reason: The movie is the story of the break-up of a marriage, it stars the people whose marriage broke up and it was written by the former husband. It resolutely presents itself as fiction, but facts and memories must have been always there in the minds of the actors (Paul Gegauff and Danielle Gegauff), especially since the little girl in the movie is their own.
They're presented as a well-off couple of Bohemian tastes who waited until their 30s to marry and who consider their marriage to be a modern one in the best sense. At least (and here's the problem) the husband endorses a “modern” marriage, by which he means an open one. He confesses to having had six affairs, and when his wife says she has had none, he encourages her to have one. It will help them both to become more open human beings, he says.
Since this is a Chabrol movie, and Chabrol specializes in dancing on tight-wires from sex to violence and back again, we think perhaps the husband has some ulterior motive: Maybe he's twisted in some way. But, no, at first that doesn't seem to be the case. When his wife finally does take a lover during a weekend party at their country home, he seems content.
He has everything resolved in his mind, and most of all he has her resolved. She doesn't come from quite his social class, and he has taught her all she knows, and perhaps he even feels a little patronizing toward her affair. But then (and here's where the movie seems to confuse its narrative with the strong things the actors themselves still think about each other), the husband discovers that he, and not his wife, depended more upon the security of marriage. And that, encouraged to spread her wings, she finds herself inherently a flier.