This French thriller had been long lost for over 45 years. Now, the film will be seen for the first time in the United States and the film itself is intriguing.
On March 22, 1968, Hélène Picard was executed the murders of prostitutes in the city. The execution was carried out by Louis Guilbeau. However, when more murders begin to pop up, they slowly start to take a turn on Louis, who since the incident, has received hate mail and death threats for his actions. Assigned to the case is Solange Lebas, a Tunisian-born detective who is also having an affair with Louis.
As the body count rises, Solange and Louis find themselves trapped as they can’t figure out who is responsible for the murders. As they draw nearer and more bodies pop up, Solange even finds herself concerned when she discovers someone has been following her. What they do know is that the murders have to do with sadism with the victims being found with various markings on their bodies. Will Solange and Louis be able to stop the murders from continuing?
From controversial director Jean-Denis Bonan, this film was deemed not releasable upon its completion in 1968 due to the director’s previous film. It would take just over 40 years for the film to get a release in its native France and now, the film will be seen for the first time in the good ol’ USA. Also written by Bonan, the film was made at a time of social unrest in the country and yet, by today’s standards, it’s actually not a bad film as we tap into the psyche of two individuals.
Claude Merlin brings quite an intriguing performance as Louis Guilbeau, the man responsible for the execution of convicted killer Hélène Picard (who is not seen in the film bur mentioned throughout its entirety) and the aftermath of said execution. He is seen as someone who is clearly letting what people think get to him as he is convinced that “chaos always follows him”. As for Solange Pradel’s Solange Lebas, while she is in charge of investigating the new crop of murders, she also finds herself intrigued with Louis, seeing him as a form of solace when things get too tough.
One reason perhaps behind the controversy is the graphic narration of the murders that come into play with the death themselves being a bit more subtle. There is also an abundance of nudity, something not really seen during the 1960s unless you count mainly exploitation and pornography. However, what does stand out in terms of its controversy is that for 1968, the revelation of the killer is something unexpected, but perhaps inspired by a certain Hitchcock film, but in a more deeper subtext.
A Woman Kills may have been controversial for its time, but it is a great slow burn thriller that makes one get involved and try to decipher all the events that occur. The revelation of the killer is quite a surprise and brings to mind a deeper meaning behind the actions while somewhat reminiscent of a horror classic.
WFG RATING: A-
Radiance Films presents a Luna Park production. Director: Jean-Denis Bonan. Producers: Jean-Denis Bonan and Antoine Dauman. Writer: Jean-Denis Bonan. Cinematography: Gérard de Battista. Editing: Jean-Denis Bonan.
Cast: Claude Marlin, Solange Pradel, Myriam Mézières, Jackie Raynal, Catherine Deville, Alain-Yves Beaujour, Vely Bégard, Bernard Letrou, Jean Rollin, Jean-Denis Bonan.
The film will be available on Blu-Ray on February 7