Newest Reviews
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
Treasure City
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
  Widow Couderc, The Country Strife
Year: 1971
Director: Pierre Granier-Deferre
Stars: Alain Delon, Simone Signoret, Ottavia Piccolo, Jean Tissier, Monique Chaumette, Boby Lapointe, Pierre Collet
Genre: Drama, Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the summer of 1934, a young man named Jean (Alain Delon) arrives in the French countryside and takes a job as a farmhand working for formidable widow, Yvette Couderc (Simone Signoret). Madame Couderc shares the farmhouse with her elderly, grumpy and deaf brother-in-law Henri (Jean Tessier), which proves the root of her feud with his scheming daughter Françoise (Monique Chaumette), who is eager to seize back what she sees as her rightful property. Gradually a warm friendship and casual romance blossoms between Jean and the older woman, which endures even after she discovers he is an escaped criminal, yearning desperately after a better life. However, Jean also takes a sexual interest in Françoise’s pretty daughter, Félicie (Ottavia Piccolo), who already has a baby son but trysts with the handsome stranger. Irked by these turn of events, Henri and Françoise visit the police…

Adapted from a novel by Georges Simenon, The Widow Couderc takes a largely grim view of French country life. Crucially, the tragic events unfold at a time when fascism was on the rise across Europe. Veteran director/co-screenwriter Pierre Granier-Deferre draws none-too-subtle allusions between the petty-mindedness, greed and betrayal displayed by the peasantry and the societal rift that ensued during the Nazi occupation, suggesting perhaps that such negative traits were always there and merely exploited by the Germans.

Granier-Deferre depicts a wholly exploitative society: as a young woman, Madame Couderc was raped by her elderly employer, made pregnant by his son, and now tends house and sexually services her aging brother-in-law. She latches onto Jean as her potential salvation, but with the odds stacked against them by self-righteous hypocrites like Henri (a self-pitying and despicable sort who feigns deaf when it suits him), there is no way out. It’s certainly an incisive story, even poetic at times, yet excessively fatalistic and something of a one-note tragedy when set beside the likes of Jean de Florette (1985).

Largely a slow-burning drama, with the bulk observing two taciturn characters circling each other, teasing out details of their pasts, the film gains much from its seasoned stars. Fresh off his biggest box-office hit, Borsalino (1970), Alain Delon excels as the stoic, yet almost childishly vulnerable Jean, who craves both the maternal warmth of the widow and the sexual satisfaction and promise of a better life offered by the nymph-like Félicie. Unlike Hollywood, French cinema allows its female stars to mature gracefully onscreen and offers strong roles, and so it is with Simone Signoret. One of the great style icons of French cinema - and the first to win an Oscar, for Room at the Top (1959) - Signoret matured into a formidable actress gracing screens well into the early Eighties. She brings great depth and poignancy to her role here. A great advocate for liberal causes, one wonders how she got on with the notoriously right-wing Delon, with whom she subsequently re-teamed in Les Granges brulées (1973).

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3089 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: