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France, 1962 (MIFF 1964)

Director: Georges Franju

This celebrated novel by Francois Mauriac was adapted for the screen by the author himself and by his son Claude, critic of "Le Figaro Literaire". The films director is Georges Franju who has previously given us the celebrated short films, Les sang des betes and Hotel des Invalides.

Therese Desqueyroux, accused of having attempted to poison her husband Bernard, is not proceeded against when the victim does not press the charges. During the course of her journey back to the estate at Argelouse, Therese tries to prepare a complete confession which she considers is due to Bernard. But '"where do our actions really begin''? What road has she travelled from lost days of youth until the time she administered that lingering death to her husband?...

Excellent acting and observant direction combine to make this a taut and absorbing film. Emmanuelle Riva etches a brilliant portrait of the tragic woman almost destroyed by human pettiness, pride and indifference, and director Georges Franju, avoiding overt literary qualities and excessive visual details, builds the probing drama into a film of strength and originality.

See also...

Le Sang des BĂȘtes

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Blood of the Beasts

A surprisingly lyrical description of a Paris abattoir, its melancholy district, and the oddly genial people employed there. ... More »


During the war of 1914, the Princess de Bormes organises an ambulance service to the front. She is aided by the young Thomas de Fontenoy, who manages to get the necessary authorisations on account of ... More »

First Night

A schoolboy discovers unknown and strange parts of Paris when he boards the "Metro" in pursuit of a young girl. A short documentary film directed by one of the new young talents of the French cinema. ... More »


The Abbe Serge Mouret, a chaste and pious young priest, devoting himself to the exhausting labours of his calling, succumbs to ill-health. A chance meeting with his uncle, Dr. Pascal, brings the Abbe ... More »

En Passant par la Lorraine

The second film by the director of Le Sang des BĂȘtes is an evocation of Lorraine, in a form that skilfully blends past and present: the memorial to Jeanne d'Arc at Domremy, and the traces of ... More »

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