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Moi, Pierre Rivière, ayant égorgé ma mère, ma soeur et mon frère... (1976)

Based on documents compiled by leading French philosopher Michel Foucault, this unique and original film charts the gruesome events which took place in a Normandy village in 1835, when a ... See full summary »

Director:

René Allio

Writers:

Michel Foucault (book), Pascal Bonitzer (collaboration) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claude Hébert Claude Hébert ... Pierre Rivière
Jacqueline Millière Jacqueline Millière ... Mme. Rivière
Joseph Leportier Joseph Leportier ... M. Rivière
Annick Géhan Annick Géhan ... Aimée Rivière - la soeur
Nicole Géhan Nicole Géhan ... Victoire Rivière - la soeur
Emilie Lihou Emilie Lihou ... La grand-mère paternelle
Antoine Bourseiller Antoine Bourseiller ... Le juge Legrain
Michel Amphoux Michel Amphoux ... Le greffier Lebouleux
Jacques Debary ... Le docteur Bouchard
Chilpéric de Boiscuillé Chilpéric de Boiscuillé ... Le procureur du roi
Léon Jeangirard Léon Jeangirard ... Docteur Vastel
Robert Decaen Robert Decaen ... Le grand-père maternel
Marthe Groussard Marthe Groussard ... La grand-mère maternelle
Monsieur Bisson Monsieur Bisson ... Le grand-père paternel
Roger Harivel Roger Harivel ... L'oncle
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Storyline

Based on documents compiled by leading French philosopher Michel Foucault, this unique and original film charts the gruesome events which took place in a Normandy village in 1835, when a young man, Pierre Rivière, murdered his mother, sister and brother before fleeing to the countryside. With a cast made up of real-life villagers from the area where the events took place, the detailed re-enactments and careful attention to the gestures of their ancestors serve to create an intense and sometimes disturbing atmosphere of hyper-realism. Details of the crime and of the trial that followed are told from varied perspectives, including the written confession of Pierre himself, and form a rich and complex narrative that interrogates the concepts of "truth" and "history".

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the actors that appear in the movie are villagers without acting experience, from the same region were the actual events happened, except from the judges and doctors; the director did this in order to preserve that idea on how the villagers didn't have any education and were isolated from the society back then. See more »

Connections

Featured in Back to Normandy (2007) See more »

User Reviews

 
Complex, authentic and challenging
26 May 2011 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

To give the film it's full title, I, Pierre Riviere, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister And My Brother, Rene Allio's film has to be one of the most overlooked and unrecognised pieces of cinema in history. It tells the true story about a peasant farmer in Normandy in 1835, who, seemingly out-of-the-blue, butchered the majority of his family in cold blood. Whilst awaiting trial, Riviere wrote down a full and detailed account of his early life, the events leading up to the murder, and his brief time spent as an outlaw. For such an apparently uneducated farmer, it was seen as a remarkable piece of literature. In 1973, philosopher Michel Foucault edited together Riviere's statement, alongside various sources that remained from the case.

Beginning at a snail's pace, the film follows Riviere's (Claude Hebert) parents' increasingly unstable marriage. His mother (Jacqueline Milliere) seems to be mentally unstable, and intent on driving her husband (Joseph Leportier) into poverty and ruin. The two live apart, with Pierre favouring his father as opposed to the other children, who seem to be unaware of the huge debts that Mme. Riviere is building up. Pierre watches on silently as this takes place, and we are informed via voice-over that wishes he could somehow release his long-suffering father of his mother.

The film is filmed almost as a documentary, with naturalistic and cold exchanges between the majority of the characters. It even has various members of the village giving their account of Pierre almost to camera while their name and occupation appears below them. It works very well, and you get a real feel to the case and the attitudes of the time. It is made all the more realistic due to the fact that director Allio hired non-professional actors to play these roles who really were farmers. They talk, act and work like farmers, and the feeling of authenticity surrounds the film. I don't know if it is intentional or not, but it has the feeling of a Robert Bresson film, who famously called his actors 'models', and preferred them to act as little as possible. If it was intentional, then it is a bold and effective move, as it gives the feeling of mundanity to the farmers and their lives.

As Pierre Riviere, Claude Hebert is outstanding. His large nose, big eyes and tight mouth embodies that of shy awkwardness with a shade of uncertainty lying beneath the exterior. He spends the majority of the film lurking in the background, shuffling between feet and giving sideways glances as if trying to avoid eye contact. I genuinely believed that he would be capable of murder. The scene where he forces a horse and carriage over a large manure pile, tipping the carriage and almost killing the horse, causing Riviere to quietly laugh to myself, sent genuine chills down my spine. He is one of those strange kids at school that you would try to avoid.

But it's not as black-and-white as I think I'm making it out to be. Riviere is not just a strange psychopath. The film poses the same questions that were posed by the psychological investigators assigned to his case back in 1836. Riviere could be a victim of social alienation. Or perhaps it could have been a moment of insanity brought on by witnessing years of torture set by his mother. Or it is suggested that Riviere could have built up a misogynist mindset by taking in various pieces of literature, and because of his overall fear of women. It will certainly provoke discussion, and probably stay with you for a very long time. Absolutely magnificent.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

27 October 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Ben, Pierre Rivière See more »

Filming Locations:

Athis-de-l'Orne, Orne, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »

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