14 user 37 critic

Story of Women (1988)

Une affaire de femmes (original title)
A housewife in Nazi-occupied France struggles to make ends meet when her husband returns home after being wounded in the war.


Claude Chabrol


Colo Tavernier (scenario & adaptation), Claude Chabrol (scenario & adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




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


Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, 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


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Though the film received a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film, it failed to get the same recognition at the 1989's Oscars due to France submitting Camille Claudel (1988) as an official nominee instead. See more »


Lulu: What's your name?
Marie: Marie.
Lulu: Mine's Lucie. But that's no name for a hooker, so I go by Lulu.
See more »


El Rancho Grande
Music by Emilio D. Uranga
English lyrics by Bartley Costello
French lyrics by Maurice Vandair
Performed by Tino Rossi
See more »

User Reviews

Is this Chabrol?
2 September 2010 | by jimmydavis-650-769174See all my reviews

As a great admirer of Chabrol's 'Helene cycle' of the late 60's and early 70's I approached this film with some trepidation, having been disappointed by some of his more recent work.

However I was pleasantly surprised, the film was nicely scripted and acted, period detail good and the whole felt taut and unsentimental. A previous reviewer seems surprised that Chabrol remains balanced in his views,however Chabrol often refuses to take sides and allows the viewer a freedom (almost unknown in moralising modern films)to make up their own mind. One only has to view the excellent 'Nada' to appreciate this.

I thought Isabelle Huppert was better here than in any other role i've seen her, partly because she managed to drop the somewhat smug persona she seems to bring to her roles. (yes i'm not a fan and wish Chabrol would turn his attention elsewhere). She played the central character as both cynical and devious, charmingly naive vindictive and finally empty and self loathing. A real acting masterclass.

Much as I enjoyed this film though it left me rather empty at the end, indeed there really was little I cared about, both in terms of character and plot. All the usual questions one feels need answering were absent, the curious unease and ambiguity gone. The Chabrol appeared to be absent from this nevertheless efficient and entertaining Claude Chabrol film.

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Release Date:

February 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Story of Women See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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