© 2000-2005 Concorde Filmverleih GmbH

Die Brautjungfer (The Bridesmaid, La Demoiselle d'honneur)
France/Germany/Italy 2004

Opening 6 Jan 2005

Directed by: Claude Chabrol
Writing credits: Claude Chabrol, Pierre Leccia, Ruth Rendell
Principal actors: Benoît Magimel, Laura Smet, Aurore Clément, Bernard Le Coq, Solène Bouton

Phillippe (Benoit Magimel) lives with his mother and two sisters. The older sister, Sophie, marries her volunteer fireman. At the wedding Philippe meets Senta (Laura Smet), who is part of the wedding party on the groom’s side. Now we are supposed to be drawn into a psychological thriller, which is certainly what author Ruth Rendell’s book, which provides the screenplay, is. Sadly, nothing can save the film. Senta is not beautiful, sensual or mysterious and if my son brought her home, I would worry about his brain and his libido. Perhaps a clue to Phillippe is that he loves stroking the cold marble bust of Roman goddess Flora which originally stood in the family garden and is now hidden in his room. They meet in Senta’s huge mansion which is not scary, but tacky; she lives in the basement and her stepmother dances the tango with her boyfriend upstairs -- no, nothing intriguing about them, either. Sophie demands a four-fold proof of Phillippe’s true love: plant a tree, write a poem, sleep with a man, and commit murder. Director Claude Chabrol has fifty years of film history behind him with such excellent films as Une affaire de femmes, Madame Bovary and Judgement in Stone (also based on a Rendell book) all starring Isabel Hubert or La femme Infidèle (which spawned a recent remake staring Richard Gere). Why didn’t Chabrol stop before he became boring? Perhaps he was providing jobs for family members, as here various Chabrols contribute acting, music, and script supervision. Read the book or check out the video of a really intriguing story of a devious woman who demands murder for proof of love: The Last Seduction by John Dahl. (Becky Tan)

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