Story of Women | Chicago Reader

Story of Women

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 (1988), loosely adapted from a nonfiction book by lawyer Francis Szpiner, gives a plausible and wholly unsentimental account of a housewife and mother in occupied France (Isabelle Huppert at her finest) who becomes an abortionist and is sent to the guillotine for it. Married to a French soldier (Francois Cluzet) who's in a POW camp, she doesn't want to sleep with him after his return; she soon becomes the family breadwinner—a tough survivor who's also helping other women out. Chabrol's mise en scene and his handling of the period and performances are masterful. In French with subtitles. 110 min.

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