La Vice et la Vertu (1963)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |  
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The "vice and virtue" of the title of this wartime drama directed by Roger Vadim are exemplified in the personae of two very attractive women: Juliette (Annie Girardot) and Justine (Catherine Deneuve). Juliette is a collaborator and Justine supports the resistance movement, yet when her husband is arrested on her wedding day, she goes to Juliette to ask for help. That simple plan is nixed by a series of unfortunate circumstances that send Justine to a brothel for German soldiers and make Juliette the mistress of a brutal Nazi officer. The symbolism in this tale harks back to two stories by the Marquis de Sade, one titled "Juliette" and the other, "Justine." Vadim seems to have been caught between creating symbolic characters versus creating believable women since as the story unfolds, Juliette is not exactly vice incarnate, nor is Justine a model of pristine virtue.

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Keywords

war, Nazism, sister, virtue