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(The possibility of an even more incestuous relationship is suggested as well.) The key to what plot movement there is here is an anonymous letter that is circulated in the town, a hit-piece against Anne’s campaign which rehashes the Nazi connection and the death of Line’s father.Suspicion as to the source of the letter shifts from one character to another, exposing a general texture of distrust, even within the family.The misdeeds of the current victim seem trivial (if reprehensible, nonetheless) compared to those of his historical counterpart, rendering the contemporary story more prosaic than profound.The observations of the mores and style of life of this group of characters, especially as contrasted with the poor folks whose votes Anne seeks, provide a modicum of interest.Flower of Evil, newly released on an extras-free DVD by Palm Pictures, focuses on the upscale Charpin-Vasseur clan, who reside in the Bourdeaux region of France.
Chabrol might as easily have been telling about a bridge tournament as about betrayal and murder.He revels in constructing complex behavioral puzzles that entrap his self-absorbed characters, typically members of the French bourgeoisie.His films combine a cynical view of the foibles of the well-endowed with a delight in delineating their luxuries, particularly those of a gastronomic nature.("People have lived like hypocrites since the dawn of time.That’s what we call civilization.") That substance and the performances by an attractive and skilled group of actors keep the film from sinking entirely, but don’t save it from being a pale iteration of the director’s best work.
Take, for example, the final shot of his La Femme Infidele (1968), in which a husband slays his wife's lover, only to find his marriage all the more secure after the deed.