Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Le Juge Et L’Assassin
France, 1976. Lira Films, Société Française de Production et de Création Audiovisuelles, France Régions 3. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier. Story by Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost, Screenplay by Jean Aurenche, Bertrand Tavernier. Cinematography by Pierre-William Glenn. Produced by Raymond Danon. Music by Philippe Sarde. Production Design by Antoine Roman. Costume Design by Jacqueline Moreau. Film Editing by Armand Psenny.
A soldier is released from the army, his psychological scars unexamined, and takes a wife whom he shoots with a gun almost as quickly as he coerces her into wedlock. From there he wanders the countryside raping and murdering shepherds both male and female before finally being apprehended and brought to trial. The judge assigned to his case (Philippe Noiret) now has to decide the fate of a man whose sentencing depends on whether or not he is deemed insane. This is not just a judicial matter, however, since it has a great effect on Noiret’s future career, while the accused is made a symbol of social justice considering the hard knocks his life endured before he snapped and became a vicious killer. Lots of intelligent philosophizing that, thanks to Bertrand Tavernier’s exquisite direction, never feels dry or self-important. Isabelle Huppert appears in an early role as Noiret’s mistress.