In which I attempt to watch every film in The Criterion Collection and end up watching a lot that aren't. Click here for the rating system.


Murderous Maids

"Death by hired help."

Forgive me if I spend a few moments telling you about a French film that deserves to be mentioned if only because it prompted me to get back into the film fury after a hiatus of unusual social busyness.

Two sisters (who are also lovers) brutally murder their mistresses in their home. The husband and police break in to find the two dead women strewn across two floors and the sisters huddled upstairs in their attic room. How French can you get?

Only it's a true story. The infamous Papin sisters destroyed the very women who they worked for in a gruesome attack that has few parallels in history. So, you're thinking, 'That's gross. I don't want to watch that.' And quite frankly I won't blame you for thinking that. I suspect that is the very reason this film is not well known in the US. It's too gruesome. But it is still an outstanding piece of film work. The sisters, played by Sylvie Testud (phenomenal) and Julie-Marie Parmentier could not be more in touch with their trapped and alienated characters. A brilliant film, really.

Not for the faint of heart.

Favorite moments: Testud, Testud, Testud.


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