The strength of âLa veuve Coudercâ? becomes apparent on many different levels. Not only does it paint a fascinating picture of the stereotypical contrasts of the countryside, but also of the developing relationship between Simone Signoret (the widow) and Alain Delon (the stranger). The idyllic pictures (with matching music) suggest that the countryside village we are looking at is the picture-postcard sort of place we would hope it to be. But once the taciturn residents are beginning to speak about the past and disclose their frustrations and old feuds, an entirely different picture crops up. Anyone having grown up in the country will recognize these repressed tensions that entirely ruin the rosy-eyed image of the naive outsider once his illusions have been shattered. As viewers, we identify with Delonâ(TM)s character, being the outsider looking for a job and a place to stay. Like him, we intuitively take to the character of the widow, who seems the most bonafide of all. Since the status quo at the village takes up all our attention, we almost forget to wonder about Delonâ(TM)s past, which appears to be not too inconsequential either. The director (Pierre Granier-Deferre) has done a great job diverting our focus here. The strangerâ(TM)s past and background prove to be very important later on, when the events are drawing to a close. Another element of thematic importance is the incubator that establishes the contact between the widow and the stranger in the first place (the object being very heavy, the stranger passing by volunteers his help in carrying it home for the widow). For a long time they canâ(TM)t seem to get it working, but in the end they succeed. This process symbolizes the relationship between the two people, who first have their frictions, but end up being a harmonious, well-functioning team (until the shit hits the fan â" the shit being the interventions of the hostile villlage community, the widowâ(TM)s relatives in particular). There are many details that make this film worthwhile, like the young, simple-minded girl FĂ (C)licie, who has the wit of a cat, as well as its inclinations to nocturnal adventure seeking. As to be expected, things will inevitably happen once such a creature is allowed to leave home at nighttime. When the stranger (or any other man from the village, for that matter) gets intimate with her, we are not sure to consider this as rape or as a pleasurable kind of pastime for all parties involved. Strangely enough, we tend not to judge Delonâ(TM)s character for (ab)using her, like we donâ(TM)t seem to want to judge him for cheating on the widow or for his criminal past. This is a very intriguing, eye-opening film that well deserves a four-star rating. I suppose the success of this film may have caused the director of the film âLes granges brĂ»lĂ (C)esâ? (which was made two years after âLa veuve Coudercâ?) to choose Simone Signoret and Alain Delon to play yet another couple with a frictional relationship in a countryside setting.