Ceremonie, La

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Claude Chabrol

REVIEWED: 09-22-97

This brilliant, near-diabolical drama by French director Claude Chabrol stays with you for days. The film follows Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire), a sullen, nervous live-in housemaid who takes a job caring for the rich Lelievres family--led by matronly Catherine (Jacqueline Bisset) and her inhumane patriarch of a husband, Georges (Jean-Pierre Cassel). Sophie can't read, nor does she appear to notice the family's condescending habit of psychoanalyzing her behavior. Evading their inquiries with defensive bursts of "I don't know," she holes up for hours in her attic bedroom. Then she meets Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), a pig-tailed, gum-smacking postal worker who casually advises her new friend to "Stand up to them!"--which, in her own way, she does. The class tension continues to escalate in this perfectly detailed film, calibrated by Chabrol to deliver maximum impact.

--Rob Nelson

Other Films by Claude Chabrol
Ce´re´monie, La
The Swindle

Film Vault Suggested Links
Ce´re´monie, La
The Stendahl Syndrome

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