Claude Chabrol, France/Canada, 1978, 35mm; 124m
Based on a sensational murder trial that rocked 1930s Paris society, Chabrol’s masterful psychological thriller stars a mesmerizing Isabelle Huppert (in the first of her seven collaborations with the director) as 18-year-old Violette, the seemingly innocent daughter of lower-class parents (Jean Carmet and Stéphane Audran) who, in reality, leads a double life as a feral seductress. Falling under the sway of her con-man boyfriend, Violette plots to poison her parents and abscond with their meager savings. But all does not go as planned. Winner, Best Actress (Huppert), 1978 Cannes Film Festival.
“From the very first moments…we are held spellbound by a combination of stunning artistry and brute suspense that never relaxes its grip until the final frame two hours later. This is an enthralling movie, virtually certain to become a classic, and in the performance of the title role it establishes Isabelle Huppert as one of the most enchanting actresses currently to be seen on the screen.”—The New York Times