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Story of Women (1988)
"Une affaire de femmes" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  February 1990 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,091 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 28 critic

During World War II, in occupied France, a woman of limited schooling raises two children in a ratty flat. She is Marie Latour. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from the front, too weak to... See full summary »

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(scenario & adaptation), (scenario & adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: Story of Women (1988)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marie
...
Paul
Marie Trintignant ...
Lulu / Lucie
Nils Tavernier ...
Lucien
Lolita Chammah ...
Mouche #2
Aurore Gauvin ...
Mouche #1
Guillaume Foutrier ...
Pierrot #1
Nicolas Foutrier ...
Pierrot #2
Marie Bunel ...
Ginette
...
Jasmine
Evelyne Didi ...
Fernande
Dani ...
Loulou
François Maistre ...
Le président Lamarre-Coudray
Vincent Gauthier ...
Me Fillon / Judge Fillon
Myriam David ...
Rachel
Edit

Storyline

During World War II, in occupied France, a woman of limited schooling raises two children in a ratty flat. She is Marie Latour. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from the front, too weak to hold a job. Marie discovers she can make money performing abortions, using a soapy water douche. Many of her clients are knocked up by occupying Germans. She buys better food and clothes, looks for a new flat, and, through an acquaintance who is a prostitute, rents out her bedrooms to hookers during the day. She's indifferent to Paul; his humiliations grow as does her income. She hopes to be a singer. Male Vichy umbrage and moral hypocrisy may upend her. What is she thinking? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Story of Women  »

Box Office

Gross:

$438,483 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based upon the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud. See more »

Soundtracks

La Chanson du maçon
Music by Henri Betti
Lyrics by Maurice Chevalier and Maurice Vandair
Performed by Maurice Chevalier
See more »

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User Reviews

 
STORY OF WOMEN (Claude Chabrol, 1988) ***1/2
20 May 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Though I had owned this on VHS (recorded off French TV), I only opted to check it out now – after acquiring the film in a version accompanied by English subtitles, on the occasion of its director's birthday. While not a typical effort (being a period melodrama and based on fact to boot), in retrospect, it is justly considered among Chabrol's finest.

Star Isabelle Huppert (in one of her best performances, playing an essentially unsympathetic if pitiable type) received the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for her work here. Interestingly, I would 'meet' Chabrol there in 2004 where the winning film that year happened to deal with the exact same subject as STORY OF WOMEN – the controversy regarding the practice of abortion, i.e. Mike Leigh's VERA DRAKE! Co-star Francois Cluzet, who acts pretty much as second-fiddle to Huppert in this case, would eventually come into his own under Chabrol's guidance in the similarly excellent L'ENFER (1994). The film, however, also provides a notable showcase for Marie Trintignant in the role of Huppert's prostitute friend; again, the actress would subsequently be promoted to lead status for the same director's BETTY (1992), which I have just watched and reviewed.

STORY OF WOMEN, then, makes for compelling viewing in several different keys: as a character study (Huppert wants to be a singer, refuses to sleep with her ex-P.O.W. husband but then takes a much younger lover, of course offers her services to girls 'in trouble' and ultimately renounces her faith while in prison), as a look at war-torn France (though the Nazis are hardly ever in the foreground, the hardships endured by the locals obviously have a lot to do with how they are 'forced' to behave) and as a critique, in the vein of Costa-Gavras' movies, of the justice system (there is no doubt Huppert was at fault but the punishment meted out, to set an example and uphold the country's moral rectitude to counter the dishonor of occupation, was too extreme). Oddly enough, once the husband exposes her to the authorities for rather selfish reasons to begin with, he basically exits the picture and is never shown feeling any kind of remorse.

For the record, Chabrol had already treated a cause célèbre in VIOLETTE NOZIERE (1978; which I will get to soon in my ongoing marathon, since I am actually approaching it in reverse chronological order!) and would do so again in the recent A GIRL CUT IN TWO (2007; that I have already viewed and commented upon).


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