This is one of the masterpieces of 90s French Cinema and one of the master’s finest efforts. Chabrol is 1 part Hitchcock and 1 part Lang, LA CEREMONIE however summons comparisons with Luis Bunuel owing to it’s totally bougeois milieu and the surreal dream like nature of the film without recoursing to supernatural hijinks. The last scene has an irony that would have sent Don Luis to splits.
Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire are two lower class women who are antagonizing the upper-class family of the Lelievres(Bisset and Cassell, excellent). When they meet and engage with each other, the film follows their actions and exchanges meticulously as they engage on a perverse class warfare with their employers and their fellow villagers.
Chabrol’s precise compositions and mise-en-scene keeps the audience at shifting distances throughout the film. There is a strong threat running throughout the film in the body language, the tone of voice and the gazes and we know that something is building up.