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France, 1991
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Written by Claude Chabrol
Based on the novel by Gustave Flaubert

Starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer
Approx. 143 min. DCP.

“Chabrol's long-delayed adaptation of Flaubert's novel is as suffocating as its heroine's predicament. Emma, the ambitious farmer's daughter taken for a wife by arch-mediocrity Dr Bovary (Jean-François Balmer in a perfectly controlled performance), has been the subject of see-sawing literary interpretations since the 1860s. Chabrol sticking to the letter of the text avoided the temptation to cast her in a modernised feminist role and stressed instead her stifling limitation of choices in provincial 19th century France. Isabelle Huppert, often a blood-drained, internalized actress, outdoes herself here, playing Emma in a distracted, half-comatose state, resuscitated briefly by the odd gowned ball or the lifeline to passion proffered by heart-breaker Rodolphe (Christophe Malavoy). The birth of a child fails to bring light into her eyes. A classical art movie saturated with Chabrol's dark romantic pessimism.”
– Time Out


“Who else (but Huppert) could do so little and yet project such a burning need - such a cry for deliverance from the bondage of self?”
– Roger Ebert

Film Forum