Directed by: Claude Chabrol
Premise: When Anne (Nathalie Baye), the mother of the Vasseur family, decides to run for political office, the shady and tragic history of her family is exposed and it threatens the stability of the family.
What Works: There is an air of perversity hanging over this picture, but it never wallows in the filth or gazes voyeuristically on the situation. Instead, the film deals with the consequences of the family’s sordid history on their relationships. The performance by Suzanne Flon as Aunt Line is fascinating to watch. She plays a character whose outward appearance is a mask for the years of guilt that has been rotting away her insides.
What Doesn’t: The film is a little slow at times and some American audiences might be put off by the anti-American statements made by the characters early in the film. However, this sentiment adds to the flavor of the characters and seems to have been meant–at least in part–ironically.
Bottom Line: The Flower of Evil is not an easy picture. Those looking for two hours of debauchery will not find it here but there is some very strong acting and the film has some very strong social and political insight.
Episode: #13 (August 8, 2004)