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Les Bonnes Femmes

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Manufacturer Description

In the drab and dingy Paris of the early sixties, four shop-keeping girls are looking for love -- of one kind or another. While their lecherous and petty boss savors every opportunity to deliver a dressing down, the girls find emotional escape by flirting with delivery men, wandering the nightclubs and gossiping about the enigmatic motorcyclist who hangs about, following Jacqueline (Clotilde Joano), the doe-eyed romantic. For the vulnerable, timid Jacqueline, his dogged persistence can only signify the true love in which she fervently believes. But when she finally decides to speak to the mysterious stranger, her dreams of romantic bliss are marred only by nagging suspicions...

The bonnes femmes of Claude Chabrol's film are four shop girls at a small appliance store in Paris. Good-time girl Bernadette Lafont spends her nights in empty flirtations with boorish womanizers, while social-climbing Lucile Saint-Simon withers under the disdainful gaze of her boyfriend's haughty parents. Seemingly confident Stéphane Audran secretly follows her dream of singing on the stage (losing her composure when she recognizes her friends in the audience), and demure Clotilde Joano holds out for the romantic notion of pure, innocent love. It's her story that Chabrol favors when she falls under the gaze of a motorcycle-riding stalker who finally reveals himself to be a shy, lovesick suitor, a Prince Charming in black leather. Les Bonnes Femmes was a flop when released, but has since been embraced as one of Chabrol's best films and a masterpiece of the French new wave. There's a breezy naturalism that invigorates the film: easy, seemingly spontaneous ensemble performances, the immediacy of shooting on location, and a loose, episodic story full of rich detail. But this is no urban fairy tale: the dreams of these girls are frustrated by a tawdry and brutal world in a shocking, sad finale. Never callous or dismissive, there's a fragile beauty to Chabrol's troubled portrait as he stubbornly holds out hope for these dreamers in a delicately melancholy coda. --Sean Axmaker

Key Product Details

  • Director: Claude Chabrol
  • Number Of Discs: 1
  • Run Time: 100 (Minutes)
  • UPC: 738329016524