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The Butcher

By Tom Keogh

This masterpiece by Claude Chabrol is a high point of the French New Wave director's mid-career, as well as that of actress Stephane Audran, Chabrol's then-wife. Audran plays a lonely schoolteacher who develops an inexplicable draw toward an ex-army butcher (Jean Yanne) who may or may not be a serial killer plaguing a small town. Drawing on Hitchcockian themes of exchanged guilt and shared secrets, Chabrol constructs an extraordinary relationship between the two characters that marries unspoken self-awareness with constant suspense over the unresolved nature of their bond. The film becomes so responsive to their tiny, meaningful gestures, their pregnant silences, and the comic-tragic synchronicity of their insulated world that the mere blinking of an elevator light speaks volumes about the hell of privileged knowledge. Le Boucher returned Chabrol to the backdrop of the French provinces, which he had visited before in his debut, Le Beau Serge, and later in La Ceremonie.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Not RatedNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Claude Chabrol

Stars: Stéphane Audran, Jean Yanne, Antonio Passallia

Released: September 12, 1970

Availability: DVD VHS


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