La Ceremonie Review

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Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) hides her illiteracy from her employers - a bourgeois couple utilising her skills as a maid - by obediently keeping an immaculate house. She befriends the vivacious and outspoken Jeanne, who begins to influence Sophie's outlook.


Claude Chabrol’s debts to Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang are readily evident in this simmering adaptation of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone. But there’s also a hint of Jean Renoir in his benevolent attitude to both illiterate maid Sandrine Bonnaire and her feisty postmistress accomplice, Isabelle Huppert, and their bourgeois victims, Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Cassel. Consequently, this is a surprisingly compassionate study of a pitiless crime.

Superbly acted and directed with a thriller master’s finesse, it’s a nasty delight.