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Alice or the Last Escapade

Alice or the Last Escapade

A Feature film by Claude Chabrol

Produced by Filmel

Release in France : 19/01/1977


    While leaving her husband, whom she has grown to despise, Alice (Sylvia Kristel) drives into the pristine countryside but must stop at an old house after her windshield cracks mysteriously. The people receive her at the house as if she were expected, and she spends the night there while her car is repaired. The next day, she finds that she cannot find the highway from whence she came, and reluctantly returns again to the old house where she is told "accept" her situation by a young man and realizes that she is in limbo. After she walks down a dark cellar, the woman's body is seen hanging out of her demolished car. She has finally met Death.

    Source : Wikipedia

    Actors (14)

    Production and distribution (3)

    Executive Producer :


    French distribution :

    Union Générale Cinématographique (UGC)

    Associate producer :

    Patrick Hildebrand Productions

    TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

    TV broadcasts: details by country


    Point of view

    Though this was considered as something of an aberration in Chabrol's filmography and thus proved somewhat hard to find, for me it had always been the most intriguing entry from this ostensibly lean period (stretching from 1976 to 1984) in the director's career – being a unique foray for him into outright Surrealism and for which he obviously drew inspiration from "Alice In Wonderland" (even down to naming his heroine Alice Carol {sic}!).

    Anyway, I was thoroughly absorbed in the dream-like 'events' – helped in no small measure by Jean Rabier's exquisite photography, a moody score by Pierre Jansen and, of course, the beguiling presence of stunning leading lady Sylvia Kristel (fitted throughout in a variety of simple but very elegant dresses). Given the latter's casting, star of the official "Emmanuelle" series of erotic movies, this clearly takes on an adult perspective – but, apart from one full-frontal nude scene and the barest hint of lesbianism towards the end, it is not otherwise explicit in this regard.

    Incidentally, the original source has always been somehow refuted of its prepubescent associations; even so, it is telling that the film under review (featuring the likes of Charles Vanel, Jean Carmet, Chabrol's own young son Thomas, as well as Fernand Ledoux and Andre' Dussolier, both in dual roles for no very good reason except adding to the fun!) is, to me, a more rewarding viewing experience than the many versions of the Lewis Carroll classic I have come across. For the record, I am familiar with those made in 1933 (Paramount), 1951 (Walt Disney), 1966 (BBC-TV), 1972 (British) and 1988 (Jan Svankmajer) but still need to check out Tim Burton's latest adaptation, while also owning the pseudo-biopic DREAMCHILD (1985).

    Chabrol may have been motivated towards making this following the release of the similarly oddball, even more fanciful but also rather muddled BLACK MOON (1975), made by his peer in the "Nouvelle Vague" movement Louis Malle. However, for all their illogical nature, the various episodes Alice finds herself a helpless and bewildered participant in – and which I have deliberately refrained from describing, since these have to be seen to be properly appreciated! – remain firmly grounded in reality (set as they are in a country-house, a gas station and a restaurant). The opening marital squabble and poignant closing shot, then, would seem to be evoking Jean-Luc Godard's CONTEMPT (1963), yet another of Chabrol's former colleagues! Indeed, an opening title reveals that ALICE is dedicated to the memory of the late Fritz Lang, one of Chabrol's idols and an actor (portraying himself no less!) in the latter film.

    All of this creates a hauntingly oneiric feel which admirably approaches the contemporaneous work of my all-time favorite auteur, Luis Bunuel. The last act even introduces a DEAD OF NIGHT (1945)-like circular inevitability to the proceedings, while the final revelation of Alice's 'in limbo' predicament recalls, of all things, Jess Franco's A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1971; albeit one of his better efforts). In retrospect, it is regrettable that Chabrol did not go down this path more often in his career – and, while the film can be cherished as a one-off, it is also liable to get lost in the shuffle of his prolific oeuvre.

    Source : IMDb

    Full credits (17)

    Assistant directors :

    Philippe Delarbre, Michel Dupuy

    Producers :

    Pierre Gauchet, Patrick Hildebrand, Eugène Lepicier

    Director of Photography :

    Jean Rabier

    Assistant Operator :

    Paul Cot

    Production Manager :

    Patrick Delauneux

    Assistant editors :

    Jean Goudier, Luce Grünenwaldt

    Production Designer :

    Maurice Sergent

    Sound Mixer :

    Alex Pront

    Location Manager :

    Roger Plaisance

    Adaptation :

    Claude Chabrol

    Screenwriter :

    Claude Chabrol

    Sound Recordist :

    Alain Sempé

    Camera Operator :

    Yves Agostini

    Editor :

    Monique Fardoulis

    Continuity supervisor :

    Aurore Chabrol

    Music Composer :

    Pierre Jansen

    Still Photographer :

    Roger Corbeau

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :


    Sub-genre :

    Legend, Bizarre

    Production language :


    Original French-language productions :


    Nationality :

    100% French

    Production year :


    French release :


    Runtime :

    1 h 33 min

    Current status :


    Visa number :


    Visa issue date :


    Approval :


    Production formats :


    Color type :


    Aspect ratio :


    Audio format :