In a French village, Manou is an Italian logger, virile, with a broad laugh. He can't say no to women's sexual invitations, and jealous villagers blame him for recent fires and a flood. He ... See full summary »
In a French village, Manou is an Italian logger, virile, with a broad laugh. He can't say no to women's sexual invitations, and jealous villagers blame him for recent fires and a flood. He is innocent; the culprit is "Mademoiselle," town schoolmarm, a recent arrival admired by all, but sexually repressed and obsessed with Manou. She sets the first fire accidentally and throbs watching a shirtless Manou perform heroics. Subsequent catastrophes are no accident and express her mad passion for him. Also, after befriending Manou's son, she turns on the lad, making him miserable and raising his suspicions. Her designs, Manou's frank innocence, and the town's xenophobia mix explosively. Written by
First a warning: if you can't stomach any scenes of animal suffering, do yourself a favor and steer clear of this film.
I just saw a brand new print of this film. In all its Cinemascope glory, this is a breathtaking film, incredibly photographed and directed. And there are some incredible touches in the telling of this story.
My problems with this film derive from a few things: 1. though the goal of this film is to build a dark and compelling yarn of the simple banality of evil, there are ways that you can read this film that really undo that goal, especially as it pertains to the female character at the center of the drama and the way we're ultimately encouraged to view the impetus of her rage, 2. the town ends up being a shadow character which is effective in some ways, but it is also unsettling.
No question this is an important film that should be seen.
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