The Flower Of Evil (2003)

CLAUDE CHABROL

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Original title:  La Fleur Du Mal

France, 2003.  MK2 Productions, France 3 Cinéma, Canal+, Conseil Régional d’Aquitaine, Procirep.  Adaptation and dialogue by Claude Chabrol, based on a scenario by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Berlin Film Festival 2003

Claude Chabrol once again investigates crime among the bourgeoisie in this turgid drama.  and  play the heads of a successful Bordeaux family whose family tree is a complicated mess of scandals and affairs that don’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. Their son () has just returned after three years in America, and has come to reunite with his stepsister (), with whom he is in love, and support Baye in her new career as a local mayoral candidate. Her career is threatened when a tract begins to circulate about a murder scandal in their family’s past, touching off a series of deep reminiscences by their loving elderly aunt () and bringing up shades of suspicion against Le Coq, whose jealousy of his wife might be fueling the whole affair. Chabrol’s judgment of the upper classes as being corrupt at the core is the kind of storytelling we’ve come to expect from him, but the narrative in La Ceremonie was much more involving than this strangely shallow film. Performances are excellent, but Baye should have been given more screen time and Magimel and Doutey’s flimsy love affair should have taken up less.

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