moirafinnie wrote:The first movie I remember seeing of Chabrol's was Une Affaire de Femmes (1988) with Isabelle Huppert as a working class woman in Nazi occupied France who finds a way to feed her family by renting out a room to a prostitute and later helping other women get abortions. The fact that these activities provide her children with food and clothing and her wounded veteran husband with care makes it harder to judge her actions. Part of what makes this material fascinating is that the director and the actress present this character fairly and dispassionately. Based on a true story, the woman is made an example of by the Nazis and the French. The attitudes of those accusing Huppert of various crimes are shaped by their own callousness and sexism as well as their need to distract the people from their evil and callousness on a national scale. Despite a certain revulsion for Huppert's character, her attitudes and actions are understandable thanks to the way the story is told. Marie Trintignant as a warm-hearted prostitute is one of the few characters who is truly likable.
Given my description, I would imagine most people might avoid this movie, and by the end a curious emptiness may leave a viewer wondering why it is so hard to feel something for this woman. Despite this, it was a compelling film.
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