La Piscine (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the 2003 Charlotte Rampling film, see Swimming Pool (film).
La Piscine
French film poster
Directed by Jacques Deray
Written by Jacques Deray
Jean-Claude Carrière
Based on the novel of the same name 
by Jean-Emmanuel Conil under the pseudonym Alain Page (fr)
Starring Alain Delon
Romy Schneider
Maurice Ronet
Jane Birkin
Music by Michel Legrand[1]
Cinematography Jean-Jacques Tarbès (fr)
Edited by Paul Cayatte (fr)
Distributed by Avco Embassy (US)[2]
Release dates
January 31, 1969 (1969-01-31)
April 5, 1969 (1969-04-05)
Running time
120 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office 2,341,721 admissions (France)[3]

La Piscine (The Swimming Pool)[4] is a 1969 Italian-French film directed by Jacques Deray, starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin.

Set in summertime on the Côte d'Azur, it is a drama of sexual jealousy and possessiveness. French and English-language version of the film have been made, which was unusual at a time when movies were always either dubbed or subtitled. It means that the actors have been filmed speaking English for the international version. That 114-minute version, shorter than the French version, also offers a slightly different editing than the French version.


Jean-Paul, a writer and Marianne, his girlfriend of just over two years, are holidaying at a friend's villa. There is a tension in their relationship which excites Marianne: the film begins with a scene in which they are together beside the villa's swimming pool and she urges him to claw her back. He does as she asks, but then throws her into the pool and jumps in after her. In a later scene he takes a branch and uses it to lash her bare buttocks, playfully but with a force that increases as the scene cuts away.

Harry, an old friend and record producer, arrives for a visit, surprising the couple by bringing his 18-year-old daughter Penelope of whose existence they have not previously known. Before Jean-Paul knew Marianne, Harry was her lover.

The four stay together. As the days go by, Harry draws Marianne back towards him. He taunts Jean-Paul for having given up serious writing to work in advertising and drinks a great deal, throwing a surprise party while Jean-Paul, a recovering alcoholic, stays sober. Meanwhile it becomes clear that Penelope neither likes nor respects her father, whom she has barely known while growing up. She and Jean-Paul become close. They spend a day alone together by the sea; what happens there is left unshown, but if their relationship has not yet become sexual, clearly it soon will.

That night, while the women are asleep, the two men finally confront each other. Harry falls into the pool and is too drunk to swim. Jean-Paul, who has also been drinking, at first stops him from climbing out of the water, then deliberately pushes him under and holds him down till he is drowned. He covers up the crime by hiding Jean-Pauls wet clothes, making it look like an accident.

After the funeral, a policeman, Inspector Lévêque, visits the house more than once. He confides to Marianne his reasons for doubting the story of an accident. She tells Jean-Paul; when he confesses everything to her, she goes to see the evidence that would have given him away. But she does not give it to the police, and the inquiry is dropped.

Penelope returns to her mother. Marianne takes her to the airport and sees her off. She and Jean-Paul are then about to leave the villa when she tells him that they will not go together. She is calling a taxi when he places his hand on the telephone, cutting off her call and silencing her. In the end, neither leaves that day; in the film's last shot stand are side by side. They look out through the window at the swimming pool, and then embrace.



Delon and Schneider had been real life partners from 1958 to 1963, and it was he who presented her posthumous Honorary César in 2008. Delon ended their six year romance by sending her a note "Je regrette".[5]

It was during the making of this film on 22 September 1968 that the dead body of Delon's former bodyguard, Stephan Markovic, was discovered, ushering the Markovic Affair.[6]


It was the fourth most popular movie at the French box office in 1969.[7]

The movie was released in the UK as The Sinners to limited box office response. It was released in Italy with twenty minutes cut out, but was a popular success.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

The Los Angeles Times called it a "handsome, stunningly designed film" which was at its best in "the deft way in which it coolly depicts how beautiful, chic people, dedicated to a sophisticate, amoral view of love, can be utterly defenseless against an onslaught of passion – a favorite Gallic theme."[9]


In 2014, it was announced that a remake was in the works under the name A Bigger Splash with Luca Guadagnino directing and being written by David Kajganich from a story by Alain Page. The film will star Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Matthias Schoenaerts,[10] on February 19, 2015, it was announced the Fox Searchlight Pictures had acquired US film rights and were aiming for a 2015 release.[11]


  1. ^ "The Rest of Micher Legrand's Feather", Leonard. Los Angeles Times (1923–current file) 15 March 1970: p. 46.
  2. ^ "Song, Dance Man All Tapped Out", Los Angeles Times (1923–current file) 11 December 1969: h17.
  3. ^ Box Office information for film at Box Office Story
  4. ^ Histoire du Cinéma Français 1966–1970, eds. Maurice Bessy, Raymond Chirat and André Bernard; ISBN 978-2857043799; entry 235
  5. ^ Article 2 – No Title: "He's Good When He's Bad" by Judy Lee Klemesrud. The New York Times (1923–current file) 16 August 1970: 89.
  6. ^ "Case of conflict", Roberts, Nesta. The Guardian (1959–2003) 27 September 1973: 17.
  7. ^ "The World's Top Twenty Films." Sunday Times, London, England, 27 September 1970. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. accessed 5 April 2014
  8. ^ Bonnie and Clyde with garlic: Lee Langley interviews Alain Delon and Jacques Deray about Borsalino, the film they made together. Langley, Lee; Deray, Jacques. The Guardian (1959–2003) [London (UK) 24 November 1970: 8.
  9. ^ "Love, Suspense in Swimming Pool", Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923–current file) 26 August 1970: f14.
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]