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Unavailable in Canada for more than three decades, Claude Chabrol's suspenseful, wryly perverse classic recounts the murderous consequences when a bored housewife drifts into an afternoon affair.
Crime has rarely been so passionel. Anticipating our Chabrol retrospective next year, we offer one of the director's best films, unavailable in Canada for more than three decades. La femme of the title (Stéphane Audran) becomes infidèle out of boredom: she escapes her passionless marriage by drifting into an afternoon affair with Pégala (a sleek, seedy Maurice Ronet, also in Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows and Le Feu follet). When her husband (Michel Bouquet) discovers the betrayal, his hangdog civility keeps him from complaining... until he can take it no longer. (No surprise for Chabrol: murder saves the marriage.) A model of psychological nuance, La Femme infidèle is both perverse and touching, a portrait of a marriage in which affection has curdled into complacency, and can only be resuscitated by death. (La Femme infidèle was a personal favourite of Fassbinder, its influence readily apparent in his The Stationmaster's Wife.) Watch for the extended homage to Psycho. "Exquisitely detailed, impeccably acted, stunningly directed" (Pauline Kael).