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Ascenseur pour l’echafaud

The movie begins with a close-up of Jeanne Moreau, who is after all even for a French woman remarkably unattractive. She then repeats ten times: JE T’AIME – poor guy.

She’s trying to persuade her lover to kill her husband, presumably making her a very rich widow. Having had military training, he makes the murder look like suicide, ignoring such insignificant details as the lack of gunshot residue on the victim’s hands.

He then leaves the rope giving him access to the scene of the crime hanging in plain sight on the façade, and trying to retrieve it, gets stuck in the elevator. As luck will have it, he wasn’t trained to shoot himself in the foot.

When he doesn’t show up at the rendezvous, Jeanne walks the streets, asking for him. “You haven’t seen my lover, have you? He was supposed to meet me right after killing my husband, so I’m sure you can understand why I’m a bit worried!”

Unfortunately, his car has been stolen by two romantically involved young people, who are protesting the Vietnam War by stealing cars and shooting German tourists as it was customary for romantically involved young people to do at this time. Of course, none of this makes any sense whatsoever, it’s the New Wave, especially made for people, who enjoy seeing other people stealing cars (or if it’s Italian, bicycles) and being philosophical about it, for three hours.

Aptly named, watching this one reminds you of being trapped in an elevator with an old lady sharing with you her medical history in grisly detail. Whoever convinced the French that they could make movies bears a grave responsibility.

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