La Cérémonie Aka the Ceremony, based on a novel by Ruth Rendell, directed by Claude Chabrol
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
La Cérémonie is a chef d’oeuvre.
A crime story with an extraordinary climax.
The cast is superb.
In my opinion, Isabelle Huppert is the best actress in the world.
Her partner in this film, Sandrine Bonnaire is equally brilliant in this exceptional drama, with a mysterious development.
Claude Chabrol, the director is the man behind such masterpieces as:
- Le Boucher, Une Histoire de Femmes aka Story of Women and others
For a while, the viewer is taken along for a pleasant ride, without suspecting much of what will happen.
Sophie “la bonne” becomes a maid, help or servant in the house of a rich family, with sophisticated tastes.
There is unease about these rich people, the parents being portrayed by two other excellent actors:
- Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Cassel, the latter father of another wonderful performer- Vincent Cassel, who, in his turn was married to Monica Bellucci…
Georges and Catherine Lelievre do not deserve severe punishment for their attitude and it is preposterous to say that
- They had it coming
And yet, in spite or because of their superiority, erudition, intellectual prowess, enthusiasm for Grand Opera, they appeared arrogant.
Yes, the blame lies 99% on the side of the defendants, the women who had been crazy all along and we just did not know it.
But I am probably trying to find justification and reason where there is none, on this second look at the marvelous
- La Cérémonie
Sophie becomes a friend of Jeanne “la postière” who is perfectly portrayed by Isabelle Huppert and works in the post office.
One way to look at this friendship and the consequent results is by using the hindsight and establishing the facts:
- Two lunatics found each other and the result of combining this sort of chemicals is a dangerous bomb that goes off
- On the other hand, I am reminded of a joke that referred to the company one takes and the influence:
- Look at Judas and the company he had!
We could consider the two women and their evidently scarcer finances and the contrast with the rich family.
A class struggle as the infamous Marx would have it and I kept hearing in the twenty five years that I had to live in a communist dictatorship.
A commie critic will easily justify Sophie and Jeanne and praise their acts as the result of the fight of the oppressed against the filthy rich.
But I must confess that I still do not get it.
I mean, if these two women were completely crazy, there are some issues:
- The probability of stumbling upon someone who is this fucked up is really small
- But to get two together and in a small town to boot seems to be a shot in a few hundred million
- Since we are talking fiction, we could still go with that…
But why would a mad person take the trouble to try and cover the tracks afar doing something so awful that it looks like they don’t give a damn about, well…anything.
There is another explanation and that would be that things just got out of control and it was evidently not premeditated.
But a degree of madness just pushed them into the vicious circle and having done something terrible, well…they just went on doing other heinous things.
Splendid work, with a horrifying subject.