Another characteristic Chabrol onslaught on the bourgeois family, which falls chronologically between the warmth of Le Boucher and the aridity of Ten Days' Wonder, and comprises the usual scrupulous mix of elements chosen to shock with the kind of cinematic references critics feel happy about only in quality movies. The plot comes from a Charlotte Armstrong thriller (The Balloon Man), and is loaded with the true stuff of pulp. Sex and dope, for instance, meet in a scene where a subnormal girl is drugged and forced to watch porn movies; earlier, Audran's husband, escalating to schizophrenia with help from interfering in-laws, tries to murder wife and child; while countering these, along with references to Balzac, is a wonderful echo of Murnau's Sunrise. What does it all add up to? Essentially, the Chabrol puppet threesome again, but in a different combination this time: a crazy construction that is magical and magnificent, although you may have to look twice to make sure it isn't just crazy.