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Les Bonnes Femmes [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Marie Arnoux, France Asselin, Stéphane Audran, Jean Barclay, Robert Barre
  • Format: Black & White, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • VHS Release Date: September 26, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WMMN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,950 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Those moments seem very real and spontaneous and capture perfectly what the new wave film makers were trying to capture.
Doug Anderson
I think this is an epitome of Chabrol's philosophy of the boudoir, condemning the pure innocent romantic sentimental melancholic love to death.
Anna Shlimovich
One of the young ladies, Jacqueline, is smitten by a mysterious tall, dark and handsome man who she keeps seeing on his motorcycle.
Jamie MacTavish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By TUCO H. on November 4, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wow! How great that this masterpiece of a film, unavailable on video for so long, is finally out on both video and DVD. AWESOME! FANTASTIQUE! If you like French New Wave films, don't even think twice before buying this, IT'S ONE OF THE BEST and definitely the best film of Chabrol's career, in my not so humble opinion.
"Les Bonnes Femmes" is the 'lost' new wave film that's easily on the same level with "Breathless," "Shoot the Piano Player," and "Cleo from 5 to 7" yet completely unlike any of them.
Chabrol is playing around with genres here, exaggerating for effect. He straddles the fence between comedy and tragedy for the entire film, veering this way and that whenever it serves his purpose: to paint an allegory of absurd modern existence through the soul of 4 modern young French females (circa 1960 but just as valid today 40 years later). The surreal modern music at the beginning clues you in, and the magnificent final scene with the empty, tragic eyes of the girl finding her only happiness when a man asks her to dance brings it all together beautifully.
I saw this at the Nuart in LA and I didn't want to leave the theater after watching it twice in a row. As disappointing as Chabrol's films had been to me over the years, this one was a jackhammer of a surprise. The Hitchcock elements are there but they don't dominate and straitjacket everything else. It's funny, it's tragic, it's bizzare, it's a hundred things all that once and balances all the elements successfully. It's a film that has to be seen, its effect is visceral and poetic, very hard to describe in traditional 'movie' terms.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Burkhalter on January 3, 2003
Format: DVD
Despite Kino's typically blah presentation of this early Chabrol film, this DVD is worth the money. There are no features to speak of on this DVD (I mean it, none - unless you count chapter selection), but Kino managed to get a pretty alright print of the film. It looks downright gorgeous until the last ten or fifteen minutes, when little slash-like tracers pepper the screen (looks like rain), although the picture clarity remains strong.
"Les Bonnes Femmes" is a fantastic film. I was really blown away. It hit the theaters of Paris around the same time as "Breathless" and many of the other New Wave splash-makers. Like those films, it shows strong influences of Hawks, Hitchcock, and other Hollywood directors. Also like those films, "Les Bonnes Femmes" is set in a less glamorous Paris, but without exploiting it for its seediness. The dark street scenes look beautiful through the camera of cinematographer Henri Decaë, who is also the director of photography on such notables as "Le Samourï," "The 400 Blows," "Bob le Flambeur," and many other fine films.
In addition to having a good deal in common, stylistically, with the early films of the likes of Truffaut, Godard, Demy, and Rivette (and with the Hollywood auteur-films revered by those names), "Les Bonnes Femmes" reminded me a great deal of early John Cassavettes films. I couldn't say whether or not Chabrol had seen "Shadows" by this point, or if Cassavettes cared for "Les Bonnes Femmes," but I think there is a real kinship between these films in terms of the handling of dialogue and acting. At least *I* think so.
The ending is a real conundrum for me. (SPOILERS COMING! Don't read on if you haven't seen "Les Bonnes Femmes" yet!) As soon as Jacqueline was united with motorcycling beau, I could tell right where the film was taking us. Why?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on June 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This film I think captures the excitement of New Wave film making as good if not better than any other example I can think of. First of all the film begins right in the middle of the action as two girls leave a party and begin to walk home. On their way home amid street noise and night life two men pick the girls up. One girl goes home alone. The other girl goes home with both guys. Bold beginning for any movie but especially bold for 1960. The plot is loose and it really is not a film with a strong plot line nor a particularly admirable structure rather it is a film about moments and few films of the early sixties boast as many memorable ones as this. Those moments seem very real and spontaneous and capture perfectly what the new wave film makers were trying to capture. Even today the strip tease scene for instance is highly charged and full of energy that has rarely been captured by any other film maker. After this film Chabrol evolved rapidly into a French version of his idol Alfred Hitchcock. Here Chabrol is not making one of his mysterys or suspense thrillers that he would later become famous for but those elements are not altogether missing from Les Bonnes Femmes either. Fascinating film to come back to for anyone interested in Chabrol or the New Wave in general.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anna Shlimovich on October 27, 2005
Format: DVD
This film is THE BEST of Chabrol. It is full of innumerable discreet symbolic details that make it a true masterpiece - Carmen's poster, motorbike number 666, the visit to the Zoo where the company is shown FROM the cage, Madam Louise mysterious fetish that turns out to be a cloth with the blood of the executed rapist, the number of girls - four, and many other incredible gems. I agree with a previous reviewer about the strong Cocteau spirit ever-present. Four girls as four temperaments - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic and choleric, Jacqueline is of course the most dreamy and melancholic, looking for the pure love, as sanguine Jane, a disillusioned libertine, is mocking her with arrogant despise. Rita, phlegmatic girl is working so hard to win the marriage, the best scene is when she, a future perfectly bourgeois wife, is terrified by the speech that she has to make about Michelangelo to her groom's parents. Ginette, the choleric girl sings in a questionable establishment, and she has ambitions to become an actress. Jacqueline is so above these vain pursuits, she is so sublime in her idea of love, her incredible romance is unfolding so perfectly - she finally is with her Prince Charming, who embodies everything she ever dreamed about. Then the end is absolutely astonishing, I believe it's an expression of Chabrol's strong opinion about the destiny of such idea of love, along with the destruction of the woman who beholds it.

And the final scene only stresses the conclusion - again it's showing us a naive dreamer, reminding of Jaqueline, eyes wide open, mouth semi-open, she is so happy to be chosen by a man seemingly representing her dreams, she is already giving herself to him, but we only see his brutish neck and no face at all, for such a long episode!
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