Les Bonnes Femmes (The Good Girls) (1960)
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as Monsieur Belin
as André Lapierre
as Mme Louise
as Jane's Boyfriend
as The Stripper
as Henry's Father
as Henry's Mother
as The Conductor
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Claude Chabrol's Les Bonnes Femmes is a scathing indictment of a patriarchal society that actively suppresses the female spirit. From the onset, Chabrol showcases a vacuous and grim Paris that is void of the charm and romantic sentiment that the city is associated with. Instead we are introduced to a group of women who are mired in an oppressive city in which men's impetus for courting is due to the thrill of the hunt rather than the longing for companionship.
Even the smallest attempts in asserting feminine independence are ferociously mocked. When Jane, played brilliantly by Bernadette Lafont, reprimands her suitor for habitually calling her by the wrong name, she is ridiculed for her outburst and the men continue to tease the idea of the "eternal feminine." Chabrol also has a strip show taking place in the background during this scene to show how the objectification of women always looms around these characters. Even in some of the most seemingly arid scenes Chabrol always features a man in the scene looking over the women's shoulders or encroaching on their personal space.
These women become so starved for genuine affection that they are willing to put up with a relationship which censors their individuality. Or in the case of Jacqueline (Clotilde Joano), are willing to assume that a mysterious stalker just might be a chivalrous paramour.
Although Chabrol is accredited with being one of the premiere filmmakers of the French New Wave, his film doesn't feature many of the stylistic hallmarks that other films of this ilk utilize. While lovers of the French New Wave may be dismayed by the film's austerity, one should not let this take away from the fact that it is a wonderfully crafted film which features some incredibly poignant moments. It isn't an uplifting watch, but Chabrol's passion for this subject truly shines through. It is a film that demands your attention and it is one that should not be skipped over.
[font=Century Gothic]"Les Bonnes Femmes" is an early Claude Chabrol film about four young women who work in a shop in Paris - Rita, Jacqueline, Jane(nee Jeanne) and Ginette - over a period of about two days. Over these two days, we get an idea of their lives and their carefree spirit. It is an atypical film for Chabrol with a rather odd ending that mars an otherwise enjoyable movie. It is not particularly strong on plot but it is well filmed in and around Paris. [/font]
I wanted to know more about that Bernadette Lafont character, but they left her and failed to sub in anyone as interesting.
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