Le Boucher (1970)   Leave a comment

le boucher

Set in a small French village, Le Boucher (The Butcher) revolves around Hélène (Stéphane Audran), a schoolteacher and Popaul (Jean Yanne), the town’s butcher. They meet at a wedding and become friends. Soon after, police arrive to investigate the violent murder of a local woman. As Hélène and Popaul’s friendship deepens, the body count increases and both Hélène and the viewer wonder whether the ever helpful Popaul is butchering more than lambs.

Claude Chabrol wrote and directed this quiet story of murder and tries to bring us into this storybook village and show us the ugliness beneath. Though less effective than Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Chabrol’s Le Boucher does get your heart racing in a couple scenes and the performances by both Audran and Yanne are natural and believable. Pierre Jansen’s score also had an an eeriness which contributed well to the overall mood. I enjoyed watching the characters relate and was really sucked into the story, until the end. That’s when I felt, as Sissy Spacek’s character says in Badlands, “…just kind of blah, like when you’re sitting there and all the water’s run out of the bathtub.” I’m glad I watched Le Boucher and I’ll give Chabrol another go, but the ending to this film left me wanting more.


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