Une affaire de femmes
At the outset of the war, Marie, a housewife and mother in her 30s, decides out of solidarity to help a neighbour get rid of an unwanted burden. Soon, she is caught up in a routine.Updated: Oct 10, 2003 17:16 IST
Director: Claude Chabrol
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Francois Cluzet,Marie Trintignant, Nils Tavernier
At the outset of the war, Marie, a housewife and mother in her 30s, decides out of solidarity to help a neighbour get rid of an unwanted burden. Soon, she is caught up in a routine.
The reasons for it are not lacking in such difficult times: husbands as prisoners of war, minor love affairs or guilty liaisons with the occupying army. Little by little, Marie's "services" begin to pay and become her main income. Demobilised and in poor health due to a war wound, her husband is amazed by the sudden wealth in the house.
Encouraged by the success of her enterprise, Marie improves her situation and that of her family by renting rooms out to prostitutes. This is a true story and the heroine is not unlike Louis Malle's hero Lacombe Lucien.They are too coarse, too immature to realize what they are doing.
Lucien could have opted for the Resistance, but he's deemed too stupid by the schoolteacher and he winds up in Collaboration. Chabrol's heroine only wants to "help" her neighbours before she realizes she can earn a lot of dough with abortion.
Chabrol watches his character as an entomologist, as she makes her way through these troubled times:the world has gone mad, and anyway is abortion worse than what the authorities are doing with the Jews?
Maréchal Petain's France was so humiliated that it tried to make up with it by focusing on "morality".The heroine could make also think of Violette Nozières, another Chabrol movie which also featured Huppert. And she's also akin to Sandrine Bonnaire's character in la cérémonie.
All are women overtaken by events, all are victims of a well-meaning society, Chabrol's trademark. Une affaire de femmes is certainly a good work although it lacks the sweep and the directing innovations of his late sixties/early seventies classics.
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Cinematography: Jean Rabier
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol and Colo Tavernier
First Published: Oct 10, 2003 17:16 IST