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727 Ratings

Coup de torchon

Directed by Bertrand Tavernier
France, 1981
Comedy, Drama, Crime


Bertrand Tavernier relocates Jim Thompson’s 1964 Texas-set pulp novel Pop. 1280 to a sunbaked, dirt-caked Senegalese village, where it follows its inept police chief-turned-heartless killer and his scrappy mistress.

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Coup de torchon Directed by Bertrand Tavernier

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1983 | Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film

César Awards

1982 | 10 nominations including: Best Film

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

1986 | Winner: Best Foreign Actor

The French screenwriting titan Jean Aurenche co-wrote Coupe de torchon with director Bertrand Tavernier when Aurenche was nearly 80, but the writing roils with the vinegar and crassness of shit-stirring youth... Thanks in large part to a vivacious turn by a freckly Isabelle Huppert as Noiret's good-time girltoy, Coup de Torchon is never not a comedy, even as it digs around in bloody grey areas.
February 27, 2012
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Tavernier's first seven films are widely diverse in subject and theme. In the Aurenche period, protagonists are "apparently" more isolated, less supported, foregrounded, drawn against the background rather than integrated organically into the background. The light shines on them more than on others. Storytelling is slightly more traditional. The period ends with the shock of Clean Slate, which Tavernier made as a deliberate affront to his growing reputation as a noble "humanist" filmmaker.
October 05, 2003
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Like Jacques Becker in Goupi Mains Rouges, Tavernier follows screwball comedy out to its other side as madness: you're never sure whether what you're watching is high spirits or insanity, and the characters keep reversing themselves. Working with two veterans of the French "tradition of quality," set designer Alexandre Trauner and coscenarist Jean Aurenche, Tavernier created one of the freshest French films in years—it has wit, dash, and fiber.
October 01, 1982
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