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On Le Boucher

“The Butcher” in English, a movie about the developing relationship between a school teacher (Stéphane Audran) and a butcher (Jean Yanne) in a the village of Tremolat, near the Lascaux caves and the wall paintings by Cro Magnon men. Written and directed by Claude Chabrol in 1970, it’s a distinctly French version of Hitchcock that works pretty well when you think about it. This, in my opinion, is what makes it distinctly French – it doesn’t really work all that well if you’re not asking yourself about the motivations of the various characters, or even that of the director, as Roger Ebert does here. What I liked most about it were various shots of Stéphane Audran, une femme qui est tres belle and qui has starred in such other films as Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie, Coup de torchon, and the particularly fine Babette’s Feast. Le Boucher is overrated, if you ask me, like a few of Chabrol’s autres films (La Cérémonie) – but not Stéphane Audran. And those cave paintings are very fine as well.

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