Les Bonnes Femmes
Claude Chabrol, France/Italy, 1960, 35mm; 102m
The finest of Chabrol’s early films, Les Bonnes Femmes focuses on the aspirations of four shopgirls working by day at an appliance store and yearning by night for various ways of escape from their present lives. “The Girls” are played by Bernadette Lafont, Clotilde Joano, Lucile Saint-Simon and, of course, Stéphane Audran (Chabrol’s wife and frequent muse). The supporting cast includes such eccentric characters as the storeowner’s wife, who keeps a strange talisman, a handkerchief soaked in the blood of a guillotined rapist; a neighborhood poet who pops in periodically to announce the theme of his latest composition; and a mysterious motorcyclist whose comings and goings gather intensity like a tightening noose.
“One of the great films of the Sixties.”—Andrew Sarris