At a friend’s wedding, Helen meets Popaul (Yanne), an ex-soldier with combat honors from Algeria and Indo-China, who has returned to his hometown and the family trade of butchery. The two are attracted to each other, but Helene is reluctant to get involved…
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The school/Hélène's residence an ominous, doom-laden castle upon which a monster infringes, much of the film a sincere celebration of the strange exuberance of human behavior. A far more restrained form than that in LA RAPTURE from the same year, a climactic fever-dream thru dark, portentous roads where THIS man & THIS woman achieve an unexplainable realization of meaning between each other. The two leads are sacred.
The final 30 minutes, feeling at once feverish and clear-headed, mesmerizing and inescapable, are among Chabrol's most brilliant moments as a messenger of what it seems the mutual and irreparable relation between two sides of the same coin.
This film quietly got under my skin and it took awhile to shake. It's not particularly suspenseful, nor is it in any way graphic. What caught hold of me is something that was not 'visible' for most of its runtime. Appearing to be somewhat routine & mundane, it's unease is felt in the murderer's simple, almost pathetic honesty in conflict with her denial & lonely isolation. I felt deeply sad for both of them.
a calm, yet very engaging romantic-thriller this is. While to call it a Hitchcockian is a little undertatement, since this is, i think so much different from what Hitchcock did. overall, for my first Chabrol : this is great.
There's a lot to like here, especially in the way Chabrol combines high art with the mainstream without catering to or alienating either group. However, the film really didn't pick up for me despite the great characters and situations. Also the cinematography was rather bland and stagy. Perhaps a second viewing might be helpful. I do look forward to seeing more Chabrol, but I'm not in any hurry.
My introduction to Chabrol and still one of my favourites from the peak of his powers in the late 60's early 70's. He ramps up tension from a simple scenario in a masterfully riveting way. Quietly menacing with an undercurrent of extreme danger, it's a steady slow burner which, with simple uncomplicated direction, creates a gripping and chilling thriller. Disturbing and compelling.