8 WOMEN
8 FEMMES
2002, Focus Features, 111 min, France/Italy, Dir: François Ozon

For 8 WOMEN, director François Ozon convened a company of France’s finest female acting talents. Danielle Darrieux is Mamy, the wheelchair-bound matriarch of a wealthy family that gathers at its chalet for Christmas, only to find the master of the house dead from a knife to the back. Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert are Mamy’s daughters, who, along with each of the film’s other principal characters, find themselves trapped in the chalet and accused of murder. Adapted from Robert Thomas’ stage play and influenced by the screwball comedies of old Hollywood, 8 WOMEN marries farce, melodrama and musical in an unbridled exploration of just how quickly the gloves come off when eight women with lethal motives are confined together.


THE NIGHT AFFAIR
LE DESORDRE ET LA NUIT
1958, Pathé, 93 min, France, Dir: Gilles Grangier

Jean Gabin’s association with director Gilles Grangier reaches its peak in this brooding crime drama set in the underbelly of Parisian nightlife. He’s an inspector investigating the murder of a shady nightclub owner who, in the midst of the case, finds himself becoming involved with the comely young witness (Nadja Tiller), who turns out to be a drug addict - and who’s privy to the behind-the-scenes dirt between the owner and his mysterious wife (Danielle Darrieux).


THE TRUTH OF OUR MARRIAGE
LA VERITÉ SUR BÉBÉ DONGE
1952, Gaumont, 110 min, Dir: Henri Decoin

Jean Gabin after World War II became a much different figure in French cinema, more paternal than proletarian. His role in BÉBÉ DONGE, Decoin’s very dark melodrama about a marriage that has literally gone toxic, is one of his least likable roles - but is among his most fascinating performances. His delirious ruminations while lying flat on his back in a hospital bed as he attempts to recover from being poisoned by his wife (played with hauntingly cold precision by Danielle Darrieux) show us just how wrong things can go between man and wife. In French with English subtitles.


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