“Desire when they lost their savage qualities becomes aspirations.”
There is beast in all of us but it’s too ambiguous to interpret and analyze it from surface layer; one has to watch and if possible re-watch this French masterpiece to witness and ponder the subtlety behind it. Regarded as one of the best Chabrol, the film allowed to merge two genres that conventionally exclude each other- it's a love story with a serial killer. The film brought two most unlikely courting couple on screen. Paul is a sadist butcher cum serial killer. He is either psychologically tormented by tragedy of war or by her unfulfilled sexual frustration. Helen is a single and repressed school headmistress trying to recuperate her lost love in company of children. Set in provincial French town,a trademark Chabrol, the film juxtaposed the psychology of crime and love between these two lead characters and it’s a thing to witness how Chabrol brilliantly maintained psychological ambiguity of both lead characters in many scenes. This subtle and fascinating account of psychological thriller is also moving love story of two lonely souls to ponder about. It begins and burns slow like any of Chabrolian flavor and established itself with more firm ground that starts intriguing you after half an hour inside the film and it changes the whole perception towards its climax just like any of his best films. That end with zoomed blinking red light of elevator is something just unforgettable!
Having watched many of Chabrol films, I must say this with conviction that he’s is one of that director who borrowed the props from Hitchcock and than surpasses him by giving them not only his original touch but also changing the whole perspective and perception of psychological thrill-drama. No, it’s not typical whodunit crime thrill to look forward in his films, but something beyond that trait and that is the fuming untold internal drama of the characters that makes watching his films a treat. Infact, this is one of that Chabrol film that demands a repeat watch for this and many other sheer reasons including brilliant chemistry between his default screen and real life muse Stephane Audran and Jean Yanne, who played another terrific topnotch performance in Chabrol’s ‘This Man Must Die’.