Tuesday, March 1, 2016

794. Une Affaire de Femmes

Une Affaire de Femmes
The Story of Women
Directed by Claude Chabrol

Let's talk about abortion!  As a young woman, you can pretty much guess my stance on it.  Okay, maybe we don't have to discuss it here, as it is obviously a topic that can make people fussy.  Still, we can at the very least attempt to answer the question: is Marie a villain or a victim?

The film takes place during the German occupation of Paris.  Marie is a poor housewife and mother, whose husband is a prisoner of war in Germany.  In a lot of ways, she is the typical housewife, although I almost feel like Isabelle Huppert is too pretty to pass as a typical anything.  As a favor, she helps her neighbor who desperately wants to end her pregnancy and soon, through word of mouth, is able to make a living off her...skills.

Basically, Marie does everything a woman shouldn't.  She's unfaithful, she befriends a prostitute, she refuses to have sex with her husband, and, of course, she performs multiple abortions.  I wouldn't go so far as to call her admirable, but it is fascinating to watch her break conventions so fearlessly (although I guess she really didn't understand what the consequences would be).  I wish we knew how Marie knew how to perform abortions. It is never really explained; in fact, the filmmakers make it seem like a natural talent.

The fact that this is based on a true story just makes it all the more interesting.  I love that the director never took too strong of a moral stance; he tells the story and leaves it up to the audience to decide how we feel about Marie.

This is definitely a film that I will have to reflect on, but for now, I am going with four stars.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

A favorite of John Waters'.  Let's not hold that against the film.


  1. "Over the years women have attempted to stop their fetuses dead in their tracks by taking extremely hot baths and showers or even going the extra mile and having hot water (meaning boiling water, you can see that in the film) poured directly onto their bellies. This was intended to aggravate the vagina’s mucous membranes and spontaneously induce abortion."


    I am not going to start a discussion on abortion but seriously any of those "methods" makes you feel lucky of having a properly medical solution available.

    Isabelle Huppert is fantastic in the movie. She makes the character really complex and fascinating. She is really charismatic and makes you relate with her but at the same time you feel she is not entirely in touch with reality. A great film.

    1. Well, I am not sure I live in a country where the proper medical solution is always available! Agreed about Huppert.