© Fidélité Films – uploaded by UniFrance
This week’s movie at the Alliance Française is François Ozon’s 2002 dark comedy, 8 Women, featuring a galaxy of eight legendary female stars – the crème de la crème of the French film industry – Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier and Firmine Richard.
Based on the 1958 Robert Thomas play, 8 Women – described by critic Roger Ebert as “the first Agatha Christie musical” – is set in a snowbound country cottage where these eight women have gathered to celebrate Christmas. There will, however, be no festivities, for the family patriarch, Marcel (Dominique Lamure) – husband of Deneuve’s character, Gaby – has been found murdered in his bed, with a knife in his back.
The roads have been blocked by snowfall, and the telephone lines have been cut. There are also no witnesses, so who committed the murder? Each of the women has a motive, each has something to hide – and a litany of dark family secrets is about to be revealed.
“From its elegantly vintage set to the 50s-style Technicolor,” writes Laura Bushell for BBC Films, “8 Women oozes camp artifice as much as it does acting talent, with each woman sending up her public persona and revelling in the fabulousness of it all.” And in the opinion of Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, “All eight women are something to see and marvel at. Whatever you call this one-of-a-kind bonbon spiked with wit and malice, it’s classic oo-la-la.”
Winner of 11 awards, and recipient of 29 nominations, 8 Women – in French, with English subtitles – screens at the San Francisco Alliance Française, 1345 Bush Street, on Tuesday, March 28, at 7.00 pm. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 is suggested. For more information visit www.afsf.com.