Three generations of a wealthy Bordeaux family are caught in the crossfire when Anne decides to run for mayor, thanks to a political pamphlet that revives an old murder scandal.
Although Claude Chabrol has sustained his career with thrillers in the Hitchcock mode, he's at his best dissecting the foibles and failings of the French bourgeoisie. His real targets here are those seemingly respectable bastions who harbour the neo-fascist prejudices that have scarred Gallic society since the Nazi occupation.
What's most notable about this compelling study of class arrogance is the restraint and precision of Chabrol's satire, whether he's commenting on the careless affluence of womanising pharmacist Bernard Le Coq's semi-incestuous family, or the complacent naivety of Nathalie Baye's campaign for mayor of their Bordeaux neighbourhood.
But stealing the show is Suzanne Flon's immaculate display as the matriarch whose good-natured indulgence of her ghastly relations belies a guilty secret. Mercilessly acute and quietly devastating.
Claude Chabrol at his best dissecting the foibles and failings of the French bourgeoisie.