Saturday, September 27, 2014

505. Le Boucher

Le Boucher
The Butcher
Directed by Claude Chabrol

It is remarkable how little happens in this film, since it has such an intriguing premise.  It's like if someone wearing a beanie hat and a halter top turned out to be dull with no back story.  It cuts a lot deeper than most dull movies when you are teased like this.  Bastards.

Helene is a beautiful teacher who begins to fall for the butcher, Popaul, who may or may not be the local serial killer who preys on young women.  Helene must decide whether or not she trusts Popaul or if he is even worth the trouble at all.  Now, doesn't that sound interesting?  I repeat, those bastards.

I will say that the character of Helene was very interesting.  She is painted as the picture perfect school teacher, but you can tell that she is repressing something dark, sexual, or possibly both.  On the other hand, the character of Popaul got on my nerves.  I won't go into too much detail since that would give away the ending, but let's just say I didn't appreciate the director seemingly shaming Helene for not being more sexually open.

I am probably making this sound worse than it is.  It is an interesting idea but I have seen a lot films pull off similar premises so much better.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Referenced Strangers on a Train.


  1. I really liked and rated this one.. although it is some time since I saw it.. so please forgive if I seem a bit hazy on some details///

    I beg to disagree on one or two points.
    I don't think Helene is being criticised (sorry, you said shaming) for her sexual repression. It is observed, sure.. she seems repressed, and I believe it is.. implied.. it would do her good to let go a bit.
    The point I took from it was.. what a shame her up upbringing, the village society.. whatever.. that made her like that led her into danger with an unsuitable guy.
    he objected herself to her own ... repression / (Suppression?).. and when someone seemed to pay her attention she allowed herself to be a bit swept away.. on the occasion when she really ought to have been a lot more cautious. To us he had 'watch out, this ones a bit.. odd.. potentially dangerously so.. but her lack of experience failed to warn her.
    Well, as I say.. it's been some time since I saw this.. I'm prepared to accept i may have re-imaged some of that in my mind since..

    1. Okay, anyone who hasn't seen this film, don't read any further.

      I just felt like the reasons we were supposed to feel sympathetic to Popaul was because of Helene's treatment of him, when she really didn't do anything wrong, except perhaps reject him sexually. But I understand what you mean. There was a lot of finger pointing in this film.

  2. My French teacher in high school loved this movie and we saw it like a million times. Guess what that do to a high school student... Apparently it is loaded with the kind of symbols French teachers love and student groan under.