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‘Les biches’ literally means ‘the does’, but it’s also the French equivalent of ‘chicks’ or ‘birds’, as well as a blatant pun on the sexual orientation initially displayed by wealthy bourgeoise Frédérique (Stéphane Audran) when she plucks Parisian pavement artist Why (Jacqueline Sassard) literally off the street, seduces her, and whisks her away to off-season Saint-Tropez for a life of idle decadence in the company of her raffish gay friends. There, they meet architect Paul (Jean-Louis Trintignant), whose initial interest in Why is cruelly exploited by a jealous Frédérique for her own selfish ends. But Why is no longer the virginal innocent that she was at the start, and it’s at this point that Claude Chabrol’s film stops being an elegant comedy of manners (with a then-groundbreakingly casual attitude towards homosexuality) and starts turning the psychological screws with the millimetre precision characteristic of the man often dubbed ‘the French Hitchcock’.
Running Time: 95 minutes
Main Language: French