The Woman with Leopard Shoes

The instructions are precise, the contractor is anonymous, and the coast will be clear at the appointed time, Friday night, the owner of the house elsewhere as the thief steals through the night dressed in black to pick the locks of the country house, deactivating the burglar alarm with the code he has been given and locating the key to the bureau then the specific object hidden in the secret compartment concealed beneath the centre drawer.

All goes according to plan until the sound of a vehicle approaching alerts him that the owner has returned earlier than expected, and with guests, the house suddenly filled with revellers and merriment as the thief seeks an avenue for a discreet exit, a gatecrasher hiding beneath beds, in the bathroom, in a cupboard where he finds the unexpected company of a previous visitor, the dead body of a middle-aged man, his only hope of escape his secret contact, the woman with leopard shoes.

With an opening scene of the preparation of the faceless partygoers in their sophisticated and elegant finery set to a soundtrack of big band jazzy swing, The Woman with Leopard Shoes (La Femme aux Chaussures Leopard) is assured and persuasive but not to be trusted, the increasing desperation of the thief leaving him vulnerable to duplicity.

Written, directed, filmed and edited by artist and illustrator Alexis Bruchon, brother Paul Bruchon plays the unnamed thief, the only face of a living person seen in the darkened house, all others represented only by their distinctive footwear and overlapping voices heard from the rooms beyond, his sole communication a series of text messages from the woman with leopard shoes whom he is able to identify as Evelyn Wanger, an associate of the target, Parisian solicitor Louis Boyer.

The premise a half-cocked Hitchcock of staccato movements and cuts shot in luscious monochrome, it plays the reverse of Psycho as the intruder hides behind the shower curtain as one who has rightful access enters the bathroom, unaware of his presence, a mystery largely set in a single room with all the clues to hand if they can be located and pieced together before detection.

An artfully constructed minimalist thriller where the restrictions trap the tension in the claustrophobic confines of the book-lined study, The Woman with Leopard Shoes is a game of two crafty cats and the cautious mouse caught between them with backlit figures and shadows dancing on walls a constant reminder of the threat of discovery, any sense of safety or trust as out of reach as the fresh air and trees just beyond the locked patio doors.

The Woman with Leopard Shoes is streaming as part of the FrightFest strand at Glasgow Film Festival at Home and will be available from Friday 5th to Monday 8th March



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons