Les bonnes femmes
Eight Thrillers by Chabrol
1960/b&w/100 min. | Scr: Paul Gégauff, Claude Chabrol; dir: Claude Chabrol; w/ Bernadette Lafont, Stephane Audran, Lucile Saint-Simon, Clotilde Joano. Claude Berri
Four young Parisian women who work in an electric appliance store and are bored with their humdrum working day, seek glamour, happiness, and love during their free evenings. "One of the landmarks of the nouvelle vague, Les bonnes femmes—which takes place mostly at night in Paris's streets and clubs—turns a pitiless eye on male-female relationships in an increasingly fractured world. The 'good women' of the title pursue a variety of ultimately unsatisfying, and in one case lethal, dreams. Free spirit Jane (Lafont) gets involved with a boorish married businessman, while Ginette (Audran). who hopes to become a great singer, spends her time impersonating a tacky Italian street chanteuse in a seedy club. Rita (Saint-Simon) masochistically accepts the put-downs of her pompous bourgeois boyfriend, who allows her to be degraded by his parents; but her friend Jacqueline (Joano) the innocent romantic rejects a 'good man' in favor of an ominous biker…The film fleshes out this creepy world of used and user with a gallery of mostly male grotesques who function less as 'real' people than as embodiments of the women's barely sublimated fears and delusions. Chabrol's camera records these events with an impersonality that makes them all the more real and disturbing, and his treatment of the characters as giddy children on the edge of a precipice gives the film a gravitas that will keep it fresh in the viewer's mind."—Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal.
View a video essay on the film here.