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751 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

Tavernier saves us a souçon of film noir flavor with a fine casting choice: Philippe Noiret as Lucien Cordier, the schlubby chef du police in a sleepy town overrun by greasy pimps and haughty lumber barons.
June 19, 2017
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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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In the mistreatment and poverty of the colonized, Tavernier finds an external correlative to Cordier’s internal conflict: colonialism’s raging id and guilty conscience are everywhere in evidence. It’s the Heart of Darkness trap, looking at Africa and seeing the soul of the white man, but it’s an inspired way of dramatizing Corey/Cordier’s shape-shifting moral conundrum.
August 11, 2008
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