Story of Women | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A bit mislabeled--the French title is Une affaire de femmes, which translates better as "Women's Business"--Claude Chabrol's accomplished and generally uncharacteristic period film (set in World War II occupied France), loosely adapted from a nonfiction book by lawyer Francis Szpiner, gives a plausible and wholly unsentimental account of a housewife and mother (Isabelle Huppert at her finest) who becomes an abortionist and winds up being sent to the guillotine for it. Married to a wounded French soldier (Francois Cluzet) who is initially off in a POW camp, she doesn't want to sleep with him after his return, and soon becomes the family breadwinner--a tough little cookie who's also helping other women out. Chabrol's mise en scene and his handling of the period and performances are masterful (1988). A Chicago premiere. (Music Box, Friday through Thursday, February 16 through 22)

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