Claude Chabrol in his restrained and responsible mood, which is not my favorite. The very fine Isabelle Huppert has the title role as the French schoolgirl who, in the 1930s, murdered her parents and became the center of a national scandal. Chabrol suggests many motives—sexual repression, social ambition, sheer boredom—all of which finally seem inadequate in the face of Violette's personal impenetrability. This 1978 film shows great craft and integrity, but that's part, I think, of what's wrong with it: Chabrol is at his best when he loses control, running away with his characters' passions. Here, he's distanced, aloof, and finally a little dull. With Stephane Audran, Jean Carmet, and Bernadette Lafont.