Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Les Biches (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Les Biches (1968, Fr.) (aka Bad Girls)

In Claude Chabrol's psycho-drama - "A Story of Unusual Love!" - a tale of power, control, betrayal and jealousy - a deadly menage a trois existed between a male architect and two bisexual females in a St. Tropez villa and in Paris:

  • the two lesbian characters: rich, bored, chic, fur-coat-wearing, and beautiful Frédérique (Stéphane Audran, Chabrol's real-life wife at the time of filming), and homeless, thin, waifish and struggling young street painter-artist 'Why' (Jacqueline Sassard) who was drawing does (les biches) with chalk on the pavement; they met in the film's opening on a Seine River bridge, the Pont des Arts (the first view Why had of Frederique was of her feet!), when Frederique generously gave Why a 500 franc bill [Note: Frederique asked: "What's your name?" and it brought the reply: "WHY"]
First Meeting Between Lesbian Characters:
Wealthy-Rich Frederique and Street Artist 'Why'
  • the scene of the two females talking to a Parisian street vendor (Serge Bento) of old books and photographs - and their discussion about the reason there was a difference in price between an original and a copy - an important thematic element: "One's original, one's a copy"
  • after being invited into Frederique's Parisian apartment for "coffee or tea, or something?", Why took a hot bath; Frederique brought her a cup of coffee while she was still bathing; Why was revealed in the bathtub by close-up views of her knee emerging from the hot bathwater, as Frederique commented: "You've a good figure"; Why accepted her coffee while still in the tub, but was called "capricious" and "demanding" for refusing it as being two sugary (with two sugar cubes instead of one and a half)
  • in the subsequent seduction scene, Frederique, in command and treating Why as her plaything, helped by unbuttoning the first shiny button on Why's denim pants just below her glistening navel - as the button snapped, there was an abrupt camera cut -- before presumed love-making (off-screen)
  • the change of locale - to Frederique's seaside Southern French villa in St. Tropez; and the prescient view of Why handling a dagger in its sheath displayed on a wall - a foreshadowing
  • the many pairings and imitative behavior of the two females - walking in tandem down a dock and both yawning, lying back on the boat's deck; and the depiction of the development (in stages) of their lesbian relationship - sometimes dominant/submissive, master/servant, or husband/wife, but most often, Why was treated as an unequal - as a pet (whose hair was stroked), as a trophy, as a plaything or as a servant
  • the scene of a poker game at the villa that introduced successful, and arrogant local architect Paul Thomas (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who was distracted by the presence of Why watching from afar; Frederique commanded Why to get her a beer, to briefly remove her from sight; but the two were instantly intrigued with each other; later Paul complimented Why: "You brought me luck. I was losing," and told her: "You're a girl. You're pretty. And I like pretty girls"; she invited herself to depart with him from the villa, and they were soon kissing and she spent the night at his place (for love-making? off-screen), leaving Frederique alone in her bedroom that evening; the next morning when Why returned with a smile on her face and admitted having spent the night with Paul, Frederique assured her: "I hope you'll be happy, that's all I want"
  • the sudden and marked shift in the balance of power when Paul became more interested and sexually involved with Frederique after she flirted with him (after having a few drinks) and urged: "Kiss me," and they presumably made love (off-screen); since he missed his planned date with Why, this initiated the beginning of Why's growing resentment and desperate jealousy, especially when Frederique abruptly announced to Why: "Let's stop play-acting. Listen! I'm going to Paris with Paul... You must hate me for it," although Why calmly replied: "You don't know me"
  • after a short time in Paris, Paul and Frederique returned to the St. Tropez villa, where Why had remained; Frederique confided in Why that she was now in a serious relationship with Paul: "The little affair the two of you had wasn't really very serious, was it? What happened to me was terrific! I don't easily fall for a man, but with Paul - when I suggested going with him to Paris, he said yes immediately...Not angry?"; Why responded that she wasn't upset; Frederique seemed relieved: "I was afraid you'd be...I'm very pleased. It was lovely in Paris. We went for long walks and to the Louvre. He took me to his sites. He loves his job. He gave me books on architecture. He's charming with me. He's funny, you know. I like being with him. At first I thought - but an odd thing happened - (Why guessed: "You're in love") - I must be mad! (Why asked: "And him?") Yes, he is too, or so he says. But it must be true. When I suggested he live here, he said yes...Think it's silly?..."; Why was happy for her: "It's wonderful for you. It's the best thing in life. There's nothing silly about it"; Frederique continued but was still unsure about Why: "I am so happy - Sure you're not angry?"
Why Impersonating Frederique and Attempting to Seduce Paul
  • the startling scene, the first signs of Why's unstable nature, when Paul entered Frederique's bedroom and found that Why was reinventing herself as Frederique in front of the mirror (she had a mole on her right cheek, had combed her hair in the same style, was putting on Frederique's rings, and was mimicking her voice with commanding statements such as: "Would you get me a glass of water? You're lovely. Very much on form now"); when asked to explain herself, Why seductively answered: "Frederique lends me everything whenever I want. Using other people's things is like changing your skin...She lends me her things. Does that surprise you?"
  • in a potential menage a trois sequence between the three one evening as they became increasingly drunk and affectionately tantalized and touched each other, Why had been asked by Paul and Frederique to put a phonograph record on a turntable: ("Put on a record. Why, give us some music"); later, when the needle became stuck, Why was asked to fix the problem ("Darling, change the record"); Paul insistently ordered Frederique (who was paying more attention to Why at the time) to leave the threesome and make love with him in the bedroom ("Let's go to bed"); after they all staggered away in each other's arms, Why was signaled to leave them alone by Frederique; later in the middle of the night, Why listened to their love-making outside their door (and appeared to be empathically touching herself)
  • the next sequence back in Paris, entitled "Epilogue" - occurred after Frederique and Paul had hurriedly left St. Tropez, and left a note for Why, telling her to look after herself and not get bored; the spiteful, mentally-disturbed Why followed after them, confronted Frederique in her apartment, and described 'shouting' voices in her head; when Why insisted on staying with them in Paris so she wouldn't be alone ("Keep me with you"), but then added in the third-person: "I can't go on as I was before. I can't live without them...You and Paul...I loved you both so much"; Frederique ordered: "Get out! You're frightful. You're disgusting...Your love disgusts me. Can't you see you're not wanted? Goodbye to you"; Why insisted on staying - and taking Frederique's place in Paul's life: "What shall I do? I'd like to throw someone out. I'm fed up too. Not easy to leave now...Now that I'm used to it. Why are you angry, Frederique? Because I love you? Because I love you or because I love Paul? You're all I've known. Why hold my happiness against me? My meeting you and loving Paul. I'll go. Don't worry. I'll go immediately. You'll never see me again since that's what you want. Don't be afraid"
  • in a shocking moment, the film's plot twist, Why stabbed Frederique to death in the back with the poisoned dagger, as she revealed her ultimate ploy: "And now Frederique, I can tell you. Have you noticed we look like one another? The same skin. The same hair. The same mouth. The same expression, sometimes. The same tastes. How should I not love you and love Paul? As you yourself..." - her plan was to disappear as Why, impersonate the dead Frederique, take her place by wearing her clothing and jewelry, and mimic her voice
Concluding Scene - Why's Phone Invitation to Paul
  • in the concluding scene, Why spoke on the phone to Paul: ("Hello, Paul, my love. No, I've changed my mind. You come here. We'll dine in our room. No, I'm not mad. I want to be alone with you. No, I'm not mad. I want to be with you - all alone"), and then awaited his arrival in the apartment for dinner; on the floor was the corpse of Frederique; Why was lying on the bed, dressed in Frederique's clothes and fur coat when Paul arrived - almost indistinguishable from Frederique

Parisian Street Vendor: Original vs. Copy

Frederique's Attempted Seduction of 'Why'

'Why' Handling Dagger

The Two Females Paired Together

Competition Between Why and Frederique for Paul's Attention and Love

Aborted Menage a Trois

Why's Sudden Stabbing of Frederique With Poisoned Dagger


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z