french films > The Flower of Evil

The Flower of Evil

The Flower of Evil

cast: Nathalie Baye, Benoit Magimel, Suzanne Flon

year: 2003

colour: yes

certificate: 15

director: Claude Chabrol

runtime: 110

Drama "A tidy study in potentially messy manners, The Flower of Evil is first-rate Chabrol. Evincing a sly approach to guilt and culpability, he revels in his specialty: nailing the seemingly eternal rituals and hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie. A terrific multi-generational cast brings a subtle, mordant, frequently funny tale of family secrets vividly to life. Returning to Bordeaux after a stint in America, Francois (Benoit Magimel) is met at the airport by his father, Gerard Vasseur (Bernard Le Coq), a handsome, successful pharmacist and inveterate skirt-chaser with a taste for whisky. In the four years since François left for the States, his stepmother, Anne Charpin-Vasseur (Nathalie Baye), has developed a strong interest in politics. She's in the final week of campaigning to be mayor of their community and the intrigue is about to begin. François develops a strong interest in Anne's daughter, psychology student Michele (Melanie Doutey), despite the fact that they are related various ways. Besides being step-siblings, Michele's real father and François's real mother both died at the same time in the early Eighties. Right before election night, Anne's running mate Matthieu (Thomas Chabrol), reveals negative information about the family's past concerning the elderly Aunt Line's (Suzanne Flon) connection to a crime dating back to the Second World War. Bringing the tradition-bound veneer up to date, the script writers have taken pains to insert an extreme-right-wing candidate to reflect accurately the leanings of many a respectable French scion. La Fleur Du Mal was in competition for the Golden Bear at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival." (Ciné-Lumière/Institut Français)

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