Wednesday, April 22, 2009

La Fleur du Mal (The Flower of Evil)

One of my most favorite directors is none other that Claude Chabrol and I had the incredible opportunity to watch this 2003 movie that is a very gratifying film from a master director that with an apparent light melodrama shows what some called “the discreet stink of the bourgeoisie perfumes” (simply love the image) in this wonderful mordant, witty, with malice and frequently funny stylish and ingenious film.

The 50th feature film by Chabrol travels one of his preferred genres, the satire of the provincial bourgeoisie and tells about three generations of a family that have hidden things that eventually will become known with the return of François Vasseur (Benoît Magimel) after four years in America; his stepmother Anne Charpin-Vasseur (Mathalie Baye) deciding to involve herself in politics with her husband and François blood father Gérard Vasseur (Bernard Le Coq) doing whatever possible for her to not succeed, and François stepsister and Anne’s blood daughter Michèle Charpin-Vasseur (Mélanie Doutey) finally consummating her love for François. Ah! By the way if I haven’t made it clear, everyone is this step-family is blood related in the cousins degree that definitively adds lots of “juice” to the plot.

As a movie has great cinematography and fantastic performances by all leads, including Suzanne Flon that plays the “adorable” Aunt Line who ultimately detonates the end of the movie with a great unexpected revelation.

The film was in competition for a Golden Bear at the 2003 Berlinale and was nominated for Best European Film at the 2004 Goya Awards. But this is a movie that has to be seen not only because is a great satire with unexpected twists but also because is a very entertaining film that I feel is more accessible to wider audiences because it becomes sort of a thriller –obviously Chabrol style-. But definitively is a very French movie that will please all that enjoys great classic French Cinema.


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