One of Chabrol's most maligned films. A cool and elegiac study of the canker destroying a family from within, it is given bizarre overtones - part confession, part game - as well as a peculiar poignancy by the fact that the script is modelled by Chabrol's regular scriptwriter Paul Gégauff, who plays the lead opposite his former wife Danièle, on his own marital troubles. Accusations galore of chauvinism were levelled at the film, of course, as the man, having fashioned the woman in his image of perfection, then simultaneously encourages and resents her independence to the point of brutality and even murder. But what emerges from the heart of the film, undercutting the Pavlovian response, is the sense of bitter despair underlying the man's full awareness that he had found paradise, but because of his own intransigently idealistic nature, was unable to find peace and harmony there.
Cast and crew