DVD La Ceremonie (DVD 28570),
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La Ceremonie

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • In Claude Chabrol's LA CEREMONIE, the wealthy Lelievre family live in a grand estate in the calm isolation of the French countryside. All that lacks in their lustrous lifestyle is the perfect maid, who they believe to have found in the shy and recalcitrant Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire). The match seems to be perfect and Sophie proves to be "a bit bizarre, but a real pearl" according to Madame Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset). Sophie remains distanced from the family and only comes out of her shell when she meets Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), the spirited and gruff local postal clerk with a grudge against the Lelievres. The two spark a friendship based on their mutual distrust of the slightly aloof Lelievres and they soon learn that they have similar secret pasts. But as Sophie and the postal clerk work themselves into a veritable frenzy of hatred and disdain, Sophie hides an even more troubling secret that fills every moment of her life with shame and terror, and only serves to increase her antagonism towards the Lelievres.

    Claude Chabrol masterfully guides what starts as a seemingly slight drama into his patent Hitchcockian terrain of explosive psychological melodrama, all couched within a brutal yet detached critique of the bourgeoisie. Bonnaire is icily terrifying as the intense and mysterious Sophie, and both Huppert and Bisset give powerhouse performances in this vision of the evil that lurks just below the surface of civilized society.
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CER010

  • Credits
    Isabelle Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacqueline Bisset, Jackie Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jean-Pierre Crochon, Virginie Ledoyen, Valentin Merlet
  • Critic Reviews
    "...Paved with exquisite tensions....Huppert prattles brilliantly..."
    Film Comment

    "...The charm of the bourgeoisie has rarely been made this teasingly discreet..."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "...Elegant....LA CEREMONIE, which has an evocative score by Chabrol's son Mathieu, is sleek -- and shocking..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "...Icy, ruthless....The actors include old hands who have worked with Chabrol before and strike the right note..."
    Chicago Sun-Times

    "...[Chabrol's] best work ratchets up the suspense in increments until something eerie or all-out dreadful punctuates the finale. Expect the same here, and expect good acting..."
    USA Today

    "[T]he film's real interest lies in the painstaking picture of the women's pathology, built up by the superb and unnervingly complicit performances."
    Sight and Sound

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