Le Boucher aka The Butcher, written and directed by Claude Chabrol
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Claude Chabrol is a marvelous film maker.
Le Boucher is a fascinating thriller.
You can find it on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made List:
Claude Chabrol is the genius at the helm of quite a number of other masterpieces:
- The Unfaithful Wife- on which I have note a couple of days ago, Violette, the fantastic if violent La Cérémonie, and the stupendous Story of Women…
At the start of The Butcher, there is a wedding.
With dancing, drinking…Eat Drink Man Woman- as the title of a great Ang Lee film has it.
The name of the hero is Popaul.
A funny name.
And he seems likeable, friendly, jovial, affable, approachable and simple.
Popaul does not strike me as the most suitable for the woman he chooses, but others might disagree:
- les extrêmes se touchent
- opposites attract
These are two of the sayings that are wrong, with another, more absurd, even disastrous example being:
- all is fair in love and war
There is a killer in this film that could be guiding himself on the latter saying, thinking maybe that if he loves a woman, well, all is fair then…
- Or isn’t it?
Opposites do not really attract and if they do, that would only be temporary and potentially conflictual.
It is recommended by psychology and I guess other sciences to find someone suited, not a partner that does not like literature, culture, theater and good movies and is only into wrestling, football, for this would be the recipe for a disaster.
The same goes for the butcher and the schoolteacher Helene David that is an honest, kind, modest, generous person.
But what could the two find in common, given the difference in education, background and occupation?
Popaul is beginning to show this wide gap in the manner he uses to talk about a former teacher and woman.
His language is not just inappropriate, but rude and Helene asks him not to speak like that about a professor.
A dead woman is found and then another, with one particularly gruesome scene wherein a corpse is found.
The schoolteacher is out in the country with her pupils, when some drops fall over the hand of a girl that screams…
It is blood and Helene understands the situation and climbs on the cliff, wherefrom the hand of the dead body was hanging.
Meanwhile, The Butcher speaks about his awful experiences in the war, where he has seen many torn apart bodies.
“Popaul: I've seen a corpse or two - their heads in the wind, cut in half, mouth open. I've seen three or four piled together. Kids with their eyes punctured. Indo-Chinese as old as Madame Tirrant completely torn to bits. I've seen pals of mine rotting in the sun, being eaten by maggots.”
Did this ordeal have a long lasting impact on the hero and is he affected by all this and ready to lash out?