One Deadly Summer (1983) Poster

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Aussi sur que je suis vivante, je riverai son ame
stryker-512 January 1999
Warning: Spoilers
It is high summer in the south of France. and one family's peace is about to be disturbed by Eliane, a young woman with revenge on her mind.

Isabelle Adjani was 28 and already a star when she played Eliane, the scheming minx who dominates the film. Eliane is a wild child, disturbed, bitchy and alluring by turns. She has in mind a grand plan of revenge against the people whom she holds responsible for the rape of her mother. However, events take an unexpected turn ...

This is a story saturated in, and powered by, sex. Eliane is obsessed by the violent rape of her mother back in 1955, the very incident which spawned her. In a real sense, her whole existence is given meaning by the rape. She is an extremely attractive girl, and she uses sex to get what she wants, and particularly to advance her designs of vengeance.

Pin Pon (Alain Souchon) is a decent, simple man. His family, the Montecciari, are proud of their Italian descent. In their barn stands the barrel organ which played "Roses of Picardy" during the rape, and this Italian organ-grinder's instrument becomes for Eliane the symbol of her sense of injustice. She schemes to entrap Pin Pon into marrying her, in order to get close to the family's bosom.

From the early scene in which Pin Pon emerges from under a car on a mechanic's trolley to find himself looking up Eliane's tiny diaphanous skirt, we know that he is an innocent dupe and that she is a pouting, dangerous little madam. It quickly becomes obvious that she is also unstable. Her behaviour in the restaurant embarrasses Pin Pon and her relationship with her mother is difficult and quasi-sexual. At times she regresses into a child-like vulnerability, and at others she is wantonly malicious and unruly.

The narration of the story switches between the characters in a natural and convincing way. Eliane's relationship with the deaf Costagna (Suzanne Flon) is sensitively portrayed. Eliane is the only one whom the deaf woman can understand, because she whispers. The deaf old fool sees more clearly than the others what Eliane is about.

To manipulate Pin Pon into marriage, Eliane pretends to be 'expecting'. Once again, sex is being used to avenge sex, the product of the unlooked-for pregnancy is exploiting her own imaginary pregnancy to settle the score. She takes particular delight in antagonising Pin Pon's stiff, correct mother (Jenny Cleve). The wedding is marred when Eliane unaccountably vanishes - another slight inflicted on the Montecciari, and a mirroring of the baby's 'disappearance'.

The key to the complex plot is Eliane's traumatic relationship with her father, played by Michel Galabru. Just as Eliane is not really an expectant mother, so M. Devigne is not really a father. There is a sexual element in the bond of affection, at least in Eliane's unbalanced mind, and a colossal burden of guilt.

If the men in the truck hadn't taken a wrong turning on that November night in 1955, or if the German girl hadn't been displaced by the war, or the Italians hadn't chosen to settle in the Vaucluse ... There is a sense in which the accidental intermingling of nationalities has caused this disruption in the life of the sleepy provencal village. And now, twenty years on, the potent mixture is reaching critical mass.
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Shatteringly powerful drama with an incredible Adjani performance
DrLenera9 July 2004
One Deadly Summer is an astonishing French drama whose best quality is quite simple- you don't know what will happen next. As soon as the plot appears to be sorting itself out, something else happens which changes what we are expecting .Also, the film itself changes several times.Initially it seems to be a love story with some strange elements.Then the film appears to be becoming one of those rape/revenge thrillers, such as Angel Of Vengeance, I Spit On Your Grave, than suddenly things change and it becomes more of a very dark family drama, culminating in an emotionally exhausting dialogue scene between the female protagonist and her father. Despite all this the film does not seem disjointed or muddled.

At the film's core is an amazing performance by the brilliant Isabel Adjani, who like Monica Belucci manages something beyond the grasp of most American actresses, that of being incredibly sexy and being a superb actress. Her performance is truly heartfelt, sometimes extremely subtle, and sometimes truly barnstorming, but appropriately so. Director Jean Becker is not afraid to be innovative ,such as having different characters narrate bits of the film, and does a superb job of sequences like a flashback rape scene, which leaves the majority of that happens to the imagination yet still somehow gives some idea of the horror.

There is the odd unexplained aspect ,and the film does seem to be building to action which does not really occur, although the cynical, downbeat ending is really entirely appropriate. Despite all this, there is quite a bit of humour in the film which does not detract at all from it's power. A Hollywood remake would cut out most of the first hour- yes, the pace is slow but the gradual building of tension and detail is nothing short of masterful- and add a happier or at least more 'resolved' ending.In that case,maybe it's a good thing this shattering film is not better known.
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all bright, golden and light, at first
christopher-underwood30 January 2013
I don't know how I've managed to not see this film till now, except I guess, for some reason it was only available for a short time. But it is a stunner, all bright, golden and light, at first, but rapidly the evidence of some dark undertow becomes evident. Alain Souchon seems a barely adequate pairing for Isabelle Adjani but it all gradually comes together. Adjani is skimpily dressed, partly undressed or completely nude for the entire picture and so hypnotises that we are distracted and unable to foresee what will be the doom laden, final denouement. I cannot think of another film where the leading lady looks so sensational from every angle and throughout an entire movie as Adjani does in this. Never a dull moment, as they say, and more than that, little is what it seems at first and those we think have a handle on things maybe don't. There is an intimate moment between Adjani's character and her mother that astonished and baffled me that does resonate as the film builds to its explosive ending.
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Intelligent tale of revenge
runamokprods27 December 2011
More an Intelligent drama, with some violent overtones more than the "thriller" it's packaged as. This has more in common with "Rashomon" than with the latest slick action movie out of Hollywood.

Isabelle Adjani plays a young woman unhinged by the knowledge of her mother's brutal rape by 3 men years earlier, and she has built her life around seeking revenge. The film's most striking aspect is the use of multiple switching narrators, so we see the tale unfold from several points of view.

Adjani, as always, has a tremendous emotional rawness, but for me the performance (and the writing) wears its heart a little too much on it's sleeve. I wish she wasn't so clearly crazy much of the time. Or that more people seemed to notice just how blatantly manipulative her behavior is.

The pace is very slow, which worked a lot of the time, but I did find myself frustrated at moments.

But all that said, this is an interesting experiment in telling a complex story, with strong performances all around. And if it occasionally falls into melodrama, it also is full of moments that are disturbing, moving and shocking.
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A warm mysterious summer!
ankur01-253-4736162 January 2012
French cinema yet once again proved its brilliance through this tiny masterpiece. The film was to be described in one word, it would be 'Unpredictable', you never know what will be the next thing or what will be the next intention of a character will be. 'One deadly summer' is a film about characters you may or may not be familiar with in real life but you certainly will believe them. Isabelle Adjani is very precise and shines with excellence in her role, she gives one of her very best performances here. Alain Sounchon delivers a remarkable performance, and the chemistry between these two are beyond words. The film oozes with mystery every moment, though having situations very believable and genuine and the characters development is so strong, so deep, that you will be forced to see every situation from their individual perspectives. A film to look out for. Simply one of those few fine European films you cannot afford to avoid, undoubtedly a 9.8 out of 10!
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This is about Isabelle Adjani and Luis Bunuel connection.
FilmCriticLalitRao7 August 2007
L'Ete Meurtrier is a compelling tale of vengeance which will surely appeal to all aficionados of thriller genre.Jean Becker embarked on a cinematic path wholly different in content as well as structure from the one taken by his legendary father Jacques Becker.There is a prevalent aspect of revenge running throughout all his films.L'Ete Meurtrier varies its tone and narrative style at regular intervals.It starts as an erotic drama and transforms itself into an agreeable account of retribution.Eliane takes cruel revenge when she learns that her birth was the fruit of her mother's brutal rape.Isabelle Adjani regretted having refused to do certain nude scenes in Luis Bunuel's renowned "Cet obscur objet du desir".This film gave her a chance to display all her erotic charms.She strips over and over again which boosted the film's Box Office success.L'Ete Meurtrier which won 4 Cesars in 1983 was fully dominated by Isabelle Adjani whose presence eclipsed all expectations.
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Loved it
ntsci17 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the most riveting films I've seen in a long time. Isabelle is captivating, flirtatious, beautiful, and the girlfriend from hell. I loved the dinner date. What an amazing scene. Isabelle is entirely convincing in all her moods from sexually flirtatious to depressed to passionate rage. This film is a virtuoso performance showcasing a great actress. In addition to great acting, she is simply gorgeous leaving you wanting to see more of her and this being a French film, one is not disappointed in that respect. The way the story unfolds forces one to pay attention to every little nuance. Sometimes its a bit corny like when they zoom in on her when she first asks about the organ in the barn, but overall the directing, acting, and cinematography are fabulous. I highly recommend this. To me the mark of a really good film is wanting to watch it again and getting a different understanding of scene each time you watch it. In part this is to get the point of the story. There are scenes that seem to be out of place like the scene in the forest, but everything fits together in the end. The first time I watched it I couldn't quite understand why she was so depressed when she found out that the revenge had already been done, but when I watched it again, it all made sense -- to find out that knowing that it was all done did not make her feel better; revenge does not solve ones problems. But it is too late, she has already set things in motion that make the ending ironic and tragic.
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Complex thriller is worth seeing .
gridoon11 September 2002
Isabelle Adjani gives a brilliant, instinctive performance (and she also has several showstopping nude scenes, I might add) as an animalistic, untamed young sexpot who seeks vengeance on the three men that raped her mother 20 years ago. In the first few minutes, the film seems a bit confusing and pointless, but gradually reveals itself to be a multi-layered story with quite a few twists along the way. "One Deadly Summer" deserves more attention (but is difficult to find). (***)
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Modern French Classic
texaustin14 February 2006
L'Ete Meurtrier is a very complex, cleverly constructed film, well acted, written and directed. For me, one of the cleverest features is the fact that a number of characters take their turn at narration.

Although Adjani puts in a very good performance, in my opinion the best performance is by Suzanne Flon, who plays the pivotal role of Cognata.

The flashback scenes are not wholly convincing for me - they do not even begin to suggest that the action is taking place twenty years previously.

Perhaps my favourite scene, is the one where Eliane sits outside her father's locked door and cries "tu est mon pere!" - this scene is well acted by Adjani - the viewer can almost feel her anguish.

Overall, an excellent film which can be watched over and over again. In fact, one needs to watch it a few times to appreciate all the twists and turns in the plot.
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I Know What You Did Last Summer.
morrison-dylan-fan24 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Finding her performances in The Story of Adele H and Deadly Circuit to be fabulous,I decided to check Isabelle Adjani's IMDb page. A huge fan of auteur Jacques Becker,I was excited to find that Adjani had worked with Jacques son Jean, which led to me looking forward to the Summer season.

View on the film:

Not making anything else until a segment in 1991's Lest We Forget,director Jean Becker shows here what could have been,with a highly distinctive style,that retains the elegance of his dad Jacques production, but is proudly it's own creation. Wiggling Elle into the Montecciari family life, Becker and his cinematographer brother Étienne give the first half a lush Erotic rural Drama atmosphere,with sharp outdoor lighting giving the many naked appearances of Elle a sensually-charged mood,and the warm,golden glow within the Montecciari household colouring the cold shoulders and snide remarks Elle gets from family members. Closely working with editor Jacques Witta,Becker undresses Elle's flirting with tightly-coiled editing that brings to light a mystery in her family life, that gains clarity with each note Elle hits on a secret that her parents have locked from her sight.

Adapting his own novel,Sébastien Japrisot wonderfully draws each member of the Montecciari family with quirks that abrasively rub against Elle, from the hot and cold romance of Pin-Pon and the frozen glances from the mother, to the fragile attempt at friendship from a half-deaf relative. Gathering the pieces to Elle's family life, Japrisot displays an excellent maturity to the horrors inflicted on her family,with exchanges between Elle and her locked behind a door dad allowing Japrisot to peel open the psychological damage that the secret has had on Elle. Looking ravishing from her first appearance,Adjani gives an incredible performance as Elle,who is given a sexual swagger in the naked scenes,which keeps the mental fragility just underneath the skin during this one deadly Summer.
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Milo Manara's legacy in Adjanis character
brunoabp10 October 2009
It seems incredible, but I only got to see this picture 26 years after its release. A surprising plot that, at first, seems just like any other we would have already seen on screen. Allthou later it reveals itself to be full of surprises. Isabelle Adjani is at her peak of beauty and talent.

One thing was always on my mind while watching her figure and style. It seems as if the director Jean Becker had based her image on one of Milo Manara's characters. Adjani's body lines and her face were a form of inspiration for one of these two artists.

An absolute "must see".
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Adjani at her best
dromasca4 May 2010
The source of this film is a book of Sebastien Japrisot - a thriller author and script-writer who also directed a a few films by himself. After having seen the film directed by Jean Becker in 1983 I start to wonder whether it would not have been better in this case if Japrisot brought to screen his own novel.

The whole film turns around Isabelle Adjani, By the time she made L'ete meurtrier Adjani was already at her 20th film or such and Truffault's 'L'Histoire d'Adele H'., or Polanski's 'Le locataire' were already behind her. Yet, she has in this film the freshness of a debutante and a sex-appeal that equals few films I have seen (Tornatore's 'Malena' with Monica Belucci comes to my mind). Adjani plays here the role of the victim and of the avenger, her beauty, changes of mood, suffering and mistakes make and destroy everything in the story and in the film itself.

Seen through the perspective of almost three decades the story of the young girl seeking revenge for the rape of her mother may seem conventional and melodramatic. It is however very much into the style and approach not only of the classic French cinema but also of the literature - the characters seem to descend to us from the world of an Emile Zola, with their predestination of giving up to passion and with the tendency of making fatal, destinies breaking mistakes for the seek of love.

If there is anything or anybody to blame for this film not really aging well despite Adjani's fabulous performance (seconded by Alan Souchon, an actor who seems to have all but disappeared after having made this film, and I have a hard time understanding why) I think it's the direction and the director. Similar material has created masterpieces if I am to think about films like 'La mariee etait en noir' - Jean Becker seems to have lacked the daring of taking a 'classical' story and using lesser conventional cinematographic means in order to make the story more credible. And yet, the film is worth seeing, even just for the pleasure of seeing Isabelle Adjani at her best.
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The secret love of a father...
yabel22 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
L'été Meurtrier, written by Sebastien Japrisot, is definitely one of the best book I've ever read. I think I've read it something like 20 times or so. The plot is absolutely outstanding. But in comparison the movie is very disappointing. What a shame to do such a crap from a so nice and deep story. The director, Jean Becker, is poor. The budget is obviously low. The original story has been chopped a lot, which makes the plot difficult to understand. And the ending is disastrous compared to the real one of the book. On the other hand, the acting is not so bad, but not great. I cannot stand seeing an actress crying a lot without seeing a single tear coming from her eyes. It sounds false. Average American actress can do far better. But still. The brute force of the underlying drama hidden behind the plot is so strong, so great, that even if the movie is poor it still worth seeing. But don't expect more. It is like listening a Mozart piece played by a garage band.

*** SPOILERS *** *** SPOILERS ***

What looks at first to be a light and insipid romantic comedy turns out to be one of the greatest psychological thriller never imagined by a human being: Eliane, a young, pretty and egocentric woman approaching her 20, is hiding a terrible secret that she accidentally learned from her parents when she was only 9. A secret that deeply traumatized her. She learned that her tenderly beloved father, for whom she had a very deep and close affection, was not her real father. First big emotional shock for her. But, as if it wasn't enough, she learned a much more cruel reality: her mother had been brutally beaten and raped by three men about 9 months before her birth... So, the apparent nutty beautiful girl newly arrived in a village located in the south of France is, in reality, a deeply deranged and potentially dangerous person who has just one thought: get an occasion to take revenge on the men who did this, with the crazy hope that by doing this, everything would vanish and she would recover the love and affection from and for her father.

But, psychologically, the problem is very complex because inside of her, she knows that her real father is one of the three men. And this crazy situation makes her suspicious about the nature of the love the other father gave to her... Was it a "normal love" given by a father to his daughter or was it something else? Something evil... These unbearable thoughts (which were not completely wrong and not completely true, by the way) drove her crazy: when she got 14, and following a strange incident involving her (foster) father, she grabbed a blunt object and hit him repeatedly to the head so the man became paraplegic. Immediately afterwards, she became remorseful and even more affected.

But who were the aggressors? Her mother didn't know them. And because the mother was coming from Germany, and reminiscences of the war were not so far yet, the couple decided at that time to keep the whole thing secret so no police investigation took place. The only clue: an automated piano, which was in the back of their truck, with a golden "M" printed on the front, and playing always the same tune... Roses of Picardie...

But in the course of her desperate quest, she will discover something new... Something that nobody could have imagined...

"I will be the judge and the jurors... I will prove you are guilty and I will condemn you to death".
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This movie represents why I like foreign movies!
swensonb6 October 2000
I won't try to describe the plot, others can do that better than I. I just want to encourage others to watch this amazing movie. In France, the movie received a great reception, but in the US it appears to have been largely ignored. I keep hoping this movie will be revived, but it has not found a champion yet. If you liked Manon of the Spring, you will love One Deadly Summer!
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A teasing thriller
Afracious17 January 2001
Isabelle Adjani is good, and voluptuous as ever as Eliane, a recent arrival with her mother in a small rural village. She flirts about in her short skirt, and catches the eye of a man named Pin Pon. They are soon dating, and it isn't long before they are married. Pin Pon's mother takes a dislike to Eliane. Eliane asks a lot of questions, especially about an old piano that was delivered in 1955. The story gradually unfolds to show us flashbacks of that fateful day back then. Eliane is here for a purpose of revenge. The film gathers pace towards its shocking conclusion.
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A little slow, but some good moments
nicholas.rhodes24 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Quite unique in its genre, this film tells the tale of a young lady seeking to avenge the rape of her mother and therefore her own origins. It all takes place around Carpentras, in the Vaucluse departement in Southern France. In the original book, the action takes place elsewhere but director Jean Becker thought that Vaucluse would provide better surroundings for the script. A mixture of eroticism and suspense in a hot summery atmosphere. It seems the action is situated in 1976 when the young Elaine is 20 years old. Adjani, a beautiful actress of pied-noir origin plays the principal role and Alain Souchon, well-known French Singer plays the role of the man who becomes her husband. Elaine although very sexy is mentally unstable and is out to catch those who raped her mother in the village twenty or so years previously.

I find the film rather tedious at times, other moments, such as the wedding scene where they dance to the music of "Trois Petites Notes de Musique" sung by Yves Montand are pure joy. One of my favourite tunes, the "Roses of Picardy", an old english WW1 tune becomes the leitmotiv of the film as this was playing on the old piano when Elaine's Mother was raped.

The end of the film is rather disappointing and leaves things hanging in the air.Elaine is in a mental institution, and Pin-pon (Alain Souchon) who thinks he's discoverd the rapists goes out to avenge them but targets the wrong men ...........we don't learn what happends after. No doubt Jean Becker wanted the audience to be left holding their breath !

Picture quality is reasonable for the early eighties but contours are ill-defined and contrast too high. The DVD is available in France for around 15 dollars/euros but TF1 video obstinately refuses to but any subtitles, even French ones on it. So unless you speak fluent French, no chance of understanding the dialogues.
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A Quirky, Mysterious Film
gavin69429 December 2017
In spring 1976, a 19-year-old beauty, her German-born mother, and her crippled father move to the town of a firefighter nicknamed Pin-Pon. Everyone notices the provocative Eliane. She singles out Pin-Pon and soon is crying on his shoulder (she's myopic and hates her reputation as a dunce and as easy); she moves in with him, knits baby clothes, and plans their wedding. Is this love or some kind of plot? There is so much going on in this film. Initially, it appears to be from the perspective of Pin-Pon and his obsession with a woman who may be the town bicycle. But we only hear his thoughts some of the time. In other moments, we get Eliane's thoughts (as well as memories), and other people take certain scenes as the narrator, too. This only adds to the layer of mystery about what is all going on.

One thing that makes this film very French and not very American is the excessive nudity. Isabelle Adjani spends a fair amount of time in various stages of undress. This is never really necessary, but really says more about French attitudes than anything else. I do not feel like it was meant to be exploitative or sensational.
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The nadir of the French psychological thriller.
dbdumonteil26 October 2002
Thirty years later,this movie tries to capture the atmosphere of the great Clouzot,Duvivier and Decoin film noirs of the forties and fifties.But it's wishful thinking.Because no one is HG Clouzot except HG Clouzot and do not expect the return of "diabolique ".Besides,novelist Sebastien Japrisot is one of the worst suspense writer France has ever known,and he's no match for Boileau-Narcejac,Simenon or Frédéric Dard.Such horrors like Litvak's "la dame dans l'auto avec des lunettes et un fusil" and Clement's "la course du lièvre à travers les champs" (check the pretentious titles!)suffice to demonstrate this.

With its "terrible past" flashbacks,its amateurish performances (Alain Souchon,a good singer but a poor actor),and Isabelle Adjani who tries to make up for the paucity of ideas by showing up completely naked(because of the heat of the Summer maybe),the movie can convince someone who has not seen a Hitchcock movie yet.But is there a thriller buff who hasn't?

The story is inept,complicated instead of complex. "L'été meutrier" was one of the greatest hits of the eighties French box-office ,but the critics were tepid.Quite rightly so.

Note:director Jean Becker is none other than Jacques Becker's ( casque d'or" "Goupi mains rouges" "le trou" and other great classics)son.Like father,like son,definitely not.
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too disjoint--like two movies spliced together
MartinHafer14 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There are some elements of this movie that are extremely interesting. The problem is, the plot is quite muddled and it looks as if two different movies had been spliced together. One movie was about a nymph who loved sex and got raunchy with EVERYONE (including Mom) and the other is a Hitchcock-like suspense movie about revenge. Combined, they just don't work. As a sex film, it doesn't quite work and as a suspense it has problems as well because of the inexplicable story elements. I have absolutely no idea why, out of the blue, this 20 year-old opens her mother's blouse and begins sucking her Mom's breast or renews a sexual affair with an older female teacher or walks around naked in front of her mother in law, smacks her father over the head repeatedly with a shovel after he fondles her butt or sleeps with LOTS of different men. All these sexcapades distract from the main story line. In addition, at times her character just seems rather dumb and if she's just "winging it" when it comes to her convoluted plot for revenge.

The first half of the movie is the problem, as most of the 2nd half is excellent. If it were remade, it could be a fantastic film.
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I was hooked right in...
agtstarling16 March 2001
I have been searching to find the name of this film for nearly 3 years now because I am dying to see it again! I have to say IMDB's search capabilites ROCKS! I would never have found this if it weren't for the character search. I just didn't understand why Eliane moved right in with Pin-Pon and his family (I thought she was looking for the men who "hurt" her mother) and when she found the piano in the barn, she became even more suspicious of his family, but WHY did she continue to stay with him??? So, I will watch it again and come back after I figure out what in the world I missed the first time. Thanks IMDB!
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Bon Nuit, Madame Campbell
writers_reign11 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It's probably just coincidence that I caught up with this just at the time when the movie version of Mamma Mia is hitting the Multiplexes. Mia is, of course, based on the movie Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, in which Gina Lollobridgida allowed three GIs to think each was the father of her daughter conceived during WW2 and even more sportingly allowed all three to contribute to the raising of the daughter. In this movie we get the dark side of that scenario for it seems like Isabelle Adjani's mother was gang-raped by three men some nineteen years previously and now she's out to find the trio and deal with them accordingly. This is fairly dark for Jean Becker, son of the great Jacques, who enjoyed well deserved success with much lighter, nay, sentimental fare on the order of Les Enfants du Marais, Effroyable Jardins and recently Dialogues Avec mon jardinier. The reviews posted here tend to be mixed and one poster who invariably agrees with me and/or vice versa was decidedly averse. I feel the mistake is in comparing this to Chabrol/Hitchcock etc instead of viewing it in isolation as it were where it entertained me at least.
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