Director: Claude Chabrol
Year Released: 1970
Talk about waking up to a nightmare: just as dutiful wife Stéphane Audran (and former Mrs. Chabrol!) is making her son breakfast, her writer husband gets out of bed and goes berserk, choking her and throwing their son into the furniture, fracturing his skull. Afterwards, Audran seeks a divorce and custody, but Ol' Lefty Chabrol knows about the power of money: Audran is poor but her husband comes from wealth, and his parents will do absolutely anything to defame her, defend their son and claim their grandson (as well as protect their reputation and capital). This is compelling real-life material, occupying some kind of middle ground between standard drama and soap-opera and containing a memorably sleazy performance by Jean-Pierre Cassel as a social-climbing associate of the bourgeois family who agrees to 'dig up' dirt on Audran's character by any means (and this even includes accusing her of molesting a retarded girl). It slips near the end when the characters start drugging each other - and Audran gets transported to the land of H.R. Pufnstuf - although this is most likely Chabrol's way of critiquing the 'praise' of LSD (prevalent in the 60's) as a method of unlocking the mind and enhancing creativity and arguing that sanity is something easily shattered: turn on, tune in, go mad.