Les Bonnes Femmes

While recovering from a recent move, an upswing in my shitty job, and getting a new friend (his name is Raj and he is such a pretty puppy!), I have let my blog and especially my series about French New Wave directors fall by the wayside. Well no longer, sir! I will hopefully return to posting on a regular basis (I got internet again! a poor movie watcher’s best friend…) and I will pick up my series where I left off. The next director that I want to profile is Claude Chabrol. Now I know next to nothing about him (except that he has a scary alien head) but he is one of the masters and founders of the French New Wave, so I am determined to find out everything I can. If you have any suggestions on good articles to read about him, films I absolutely must watch or general comments  about him, just let me know. Now to get started with his earliest film that I could get my grubby little hands on.

This film follows a couple of girls who work together in a shop in Paris. Lorded over by a creepy boss that touches them inappropriately, the girls fantasize about love and fulfillment in their lives. One woman is living the “ideal life” because she has a fellow, but his constant nagging and wanting her to be more intelligent makes seem trapped. Another woman just wants to have a good time and as a result gets gang raped. The third woman has a stalker who she is in love with and when they meet it seems to be a match made in heaven. But he seems kind of odd. The last woman has ambitions beyond wanting a guy but she is embarrassed by them and when her friends go to see a variety show that she happens to be singing at she refuses to go on. These stories are harsh with no happy ending or meaning behind it all. It is really quite depressing.

I predict as I watch more and more of Chabrol’s films, I will be talking about how much he tortures his main characters. He takes good girls who haven’t done anything to anybody and just want a good life and kill all of the naiveté in them slowly and systematically. And yet it was so interesting to watch. You want to reach inside the screen and tell the woman who fell in love with her stalker that is not a good idea to be alone with him in the woods or you want to tell the woman who gets raped that she should get out with her friend. And yet you can’t.

I feel like this is a good start to my Chabrol odyssey. I didn’t get my hands on his first two films (damn Criterion and their refusal to sell their dvds to Netflix… what the shit? Are you trying to make money or something?) but this seems to be where he came into his own. Next week I will journey onward towards the inevitable ending where I will become disillusioned with lives of other people.

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