France, 1893. Joseph Bouvier, a former Sergeant in the French military, shoots his beloved and attempts to kill himself. Having survived with two bullets in his brain, he is released from ... See full summary »
France, 1893. Joseph Bouvier, a former Sergeant in the French military, shoots his beloved and attempts to kill himself. Having survived with two bullets in his brain, he is released from the Dole medical facility, a place of mental and physical filthiness. Then begins a five-year period of wandering on the roads of the South East of France, during which Bouvier rapes and eventually kills two dozen defenseless shepherds and farm servants of both sexes. Judge Rousseau thinks this case would help his career as a right wing politician and therefore issues warrants of arrests to find any hobo fitting the description. But if Bouvier was declared insane, the Judge's plan may become a trap... Written by
Vincent Merlaud <email@example.com>
I can't make a real judgment on this film, although the other reviews are rave ones. I just want to add that the story is based on an actual case of the 1890s in France. Joseph Vacher was the real life murderer who is the basis for Michel Galabrue's Joseph Bouvier. Like Vacher he was a former soldier, and he went about the countryside slaughtering young boy shepherds and young girl servants. His destruction of these victims (in terms of mutilations) rivaled his contemporary Jack the Ripper (Vacher was known as Vacher the Ripper). Although he was quite insane the public demanded a death penalty - he was guillotined in 1898. His crimes briefly took public attention off the matter of Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
The Philippe Noiret character is partly based on the noted criminologist Professor Alexander Lacassagne, who (despite considerable evidence of insanity) determined that Vacher was sane, and deserved the death penalty.
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