Monday, November 2, 2009

2003 - THE FLOWER OF EVIL Happy families

Claude Chabrol the " French Hitchcock" takes a look at a Bourgeoisie French family with a lot of secrets.  The mother and father are a couple who remarried after their respective spouses (who were brother and sister) have died. The mother has political ambitions and is neglecting her spouse as she runs around making phony promises to the voters. The father has some sort of shady pharmaceutical business going on and secretly despises his wife's run for mayor. Their children are cousins (or half cousins or brother and sister or half brother and half sister) and are having a semi secretive incestuous affair. Even the family's saintly old Aunt has a big secret she's been hiding in her past.

Chabrol very subtly rips apart their respectability and shows the rotten moral core of the family.
Chabrol opens the film with a dead body then flashes back to show how the body got there. He also stages a scene with people trying to move the body around. Hitchcock would have taken a scene like this and shoot it with plenty of fancy camera angles and editing to create a showy moment for one of his films. Chabrol just shoots the scene in a fairly straightforward manner which emphasizes how difficult it is to just plain drag a dead body around the house.

Hitchcock's films could sometimes be full of set pieces with the characters stuck in to move around to the next set piece. Claude Chabrol can do the suspense stuff about as well as Hitchcock but he builds his films around his characters, something Hitchcock always seemed to struggle with.

104 minutes.

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