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31. 8 Femmes
8 Women

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8 Women (Original French title: 8 femmes) is a 2002 French musical comedy murder-mystery film, directed by François Ozon and based on the play by Robert Thomas. The film was known as 8 femmes to distinguish it from the 1972 play entitled Huit femmes.

The film is set in the 1950s in a large country residence, as a family and its servants are preparing for Christmas, when the master of the house is discovered dead in his bed, with a dagger stuck into his back. The murderer must be one of the eight women in the house at the time, and in the course of the investigations each has a tale to tell and secrets to hide.

The scene opens with Suzon returning from school for Christmas break, finding her mother Gaby, her younger sister Catherine, and her wheelchair-bound grandmother Mamy in the living room, where most of the action of the film takes place. Their conversation drifts to the subject of the patriarch of the family, and Catherine leads the first song of the film, "Papa t'es plus dans le coup" (roughly, "Dad, you're out of touch"). The singing wakes up Suzon and Catherine's aunt Augustine, who picks arguments with the rest of the family and the two servants (Madame Chanel and Louise), eventually returning upstairs, threatening to commit suicide. Mamy jumps out of her wheelchair, trying to stop her, haphazardly explaining her ability to walk as a "Christmas miracle." Augustine is eventually calmed down, and she sings her song of longing, "Message personnel" (Personal Message).

The maid takes the tray upstairs, finds Marcel's stabbed body, and screams. Catherine goes up to see what happened and locks the door. The others finally go up to Marcel's room to see him stabbed in the back. Catherine tells the others that they should not disturb the room until the police arrive. Realizing that the dogs have not barked the night before, it seems clear that the murderer was one of the women in the house. Attempting to call the authorities, they find that the phone is disconnected, and they will have to go in person to the police station. However, the women are distracted by the announcement that someone is roaming in the garden, who for some reason, the guard dogs are not chasing. The person turns out to be Marcel's sister Pierrette, a nightclub singer who is also rumoured to be a streetwalker, and has not been allowed to the house before, due to Gaby's dislike for her. When questioned, she claims she received a mysterious phone call, telling her that her brother was dead; she also sings "A quoi sert de vivre libre" (What's the point of living free?), commenting on her sexual freedom.

It is realized that she has been to the house before, as the dogs did not bark, making her the eighth potential killer. The women try to start the car, and find that it has been sabotaged, cutting them off from help overnight, until they can hitchhike to town in the morning. The women spend their time trying to find the murderer amongst them. It is discovered that Suzon in fact returned the night before, to tell her father in secret that she was pregnant. She sings a song to Catherine, "Mon Amour, Mon Ami" (My Lover, My Friend), about her lover however her lover is imagined and she has in fact been abused by her father. We later find out that, unknown to everyone involved excluding Gaby, Suzon is not his child, and is actually the child of Gaby's first great love. Gaby reveals that he was killed not long after her conception and that every time she looks at Suzon, she is reminded of her love for him.

Suspicion then swings to Madame Chanel, the housekeeper, whose actions the night before seem suspicious; it is revealed that she has been having an affair with Pierrette, who went to see her brother that night to ask for money to pay off her debts. When some members of the family react in outrage to the fact that she is a lesbian, Madame Chanel retreats to the kitchen, and sings "Pour ne pas vivre seul" (So as to not live alone).

In the meantime we find out that Mamy, Suzon's and Catherine's "old and sick" grandmother, not only can walk but also possesses some valuable shares that could have saved Marcel from his bankruptcy. Out of greed she lied that her shares have been stolen by someone who knew where she was hiding them.

The spotlight moves to Louise, the maid, who is found out to be Marcel's mistress. She declares, however, affection for Gaby, but also expresses disappointment in her for her weakness and indecision. She sings "Pile ou Face" (literally Heads or Tails, but referring to the Ups and Downs of life), and removes the symbols of her servitude, her maid's cap and apron, asserting herself as an equal to the other women.

Gaby sings "Toi Jamais" (Never You), about Marcel, saying that he never paid enough attention to her, while other men did; it is revealed that she had an affair with his business partner, the same man who has been having an affair with Pierrette. The two women get into a fight that turns into a make-out session on the living room floor, which the others walk in on.

Eventually, Madame Chanel decides to reveal the solution to the mystery, but Catherine takes the lead, revealing that she had hidden in her father's closet, and had seen the other women all talk to Marcel the night before, and explains the mystery: Marcel had faked his own death, with her help, to see what was really going on in his house. She claims that he is now free of the other women's clutches, and rushes into his bedroom, only to see him shoot himself in the head, in absolute despair. Mamy ends the film with the song "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" (There is no happy love).

François Ozon was inspired by the 1950s Ross Hunter productions of Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock. To achieve the look of the latter two director's films, Ozon had costume designer Pascaline Chavanne fashion a costume for each character based on Dior's New Look.[2] Composer Krishna Levy also provided an instrumental score evocative of Bernard Herrmann, with touches of Miklos Rosza and Elmer Bernstein,[3] as well as a soundtrack featuring eight songs performed unexpectedly by the film's title charact

awards

Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)
Won: Silver Bear – Outstanding Artistic Achievement (entire cast)

Chlotrudis Awards (USA)
Won: Audience Award/Best Actress – Supporting Role (Isabelle Huppert)

European Film Awards
Won: Best Actress (entire cast)

Lumiere Awards (France)
Won: Best Director (François Ozon)

 

 

 

 

Directed by François Ozon
Produced by Stéphane Célérier
Olivier Delbosc
Marc Missonnier
Written by François Ozon
Marina de Van
based on the play by Robert Thomas
Starring Catherine Deneuve
Isabelle Huppert
Emmanuelle Béart
Fanny Ardant
Music by Krishna Levy
Cinematography Jeanne Lapoirie
Editing by Laurence Bawedin
Distributed by Focus Features (USA)
Release date(s) 2002
Running time 103 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €8,000,000 (estimated)[citation needed]
Gross revenue $42,426,583 (worldwide)[1

 

Danielle Darrieux as Mamy, the matriarch
Isabelle Huppert as Augustine, her tachycardiac daughter
Catherine Deneuve as Gaby, her other daughter, the victim's wife
Dominique Lamure as Marcel, the victim
Virginie Ledoyen as Suzon, the victim's eldest daughter
Ludivine Sagnier as Catherine, the victim's youngest daughter
Fanny Ardant as Pierrette, the victim's sister
Emmanuelle Béart as Louise, the new chambermaid
Firmine Richard as Madame Chanel, the cook

 

 


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