Saturday, October 23, 2010

Le Boucher

(1970) ****

At a wedding in a small French town, a schoolteacher, Helene, and butcher, Popaul, meet and begin a friendship. Although Popaul would like it to be more, Helene resists because she is still recovering from a past relationship. Coinciding with their meeting, a series of female murders have plagued the village. Soon after, Helene stumbles across something that lays suspicion on Popaul’s innocence.

This was an excellent film, and one that I will definitely revisit. Although murders take place, it is not a gory a film or a fast paced one. It’s more of a character study, which is the type I love. The piece exudes a lonely tone, and the eerie church bell that strikes every hour further adds to the haunting, unsettling, and melancholy atmosphere.

Writer and director, Claude Chabrol, creates in the style of Hitchcock, and made no secret during his life of his admiration of Hitchcock’s work. Apparently, Hitchcock took an interest in Chabrol as well because I read on Wikepedia that Hitchcock said that Le Boucher was one of two films he wished he had written.

Sadly, Chabrol died last month at the age of 80. He put out about one film a year, so it looks like I may soon have to plan a marathon.


DCD said...

Wow! Sounds cool. Love the Hitchcock connection.

When desroc and I had our first apartment in Bristol it was three doors down from a church that rang the bell every hour - and half hour. It's amazing how quickly you get to a point where you don't even notice it.

Catfreeek said...

I'm with you Whirly, I love a slow character building film. Just put this in my queue for a post thon watch. Great discovery.

JPX said...

"The piece exudes a lonely tone, and the eerie church bell that strikes every hour further adds to the haunting, unsettling, and melancholy atmosphere."

I have always found the sound of a clanging church bell to be disquieting. I can't place my finger on it exactly but there's something both ominous and depressing about that sound to me. I also loathe clocks that chime on the half-hour/hour. My parents have one now that always seems to start clanging at themost inopportune time when you're watching TV. "And the murderer is.." CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG...

This sounds like a terrific find, Whirlygirl. With Hitchcock's stamp of approval how could it be anything less than great? I look forward to your overall analysis of the films you watched this year. There seems to be a dichotomous split between great and awful French cinema.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I love the bottomless barrel of horror that exists. Every Horrorthon I think I have a good grasp on what's out there but inevitably an entire body of work gets unearthed that demands attention. Note to self: check out Claude Chabrol.