Le Boucher

Le Boucher

French film poster
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Produced by André Génovès
Written by Claude Chabrol
Starring Stéphane Audran
Jean Yanne
Music by Pierre Jansen
Cinematography Jean Rabier
Edited by Jacques Gaillard
Distributed by Cinerama Releasing Corporation (U.S.)
Release dates
February 27, 1970
Running time
93 mins.
Country France
Language French

Le Boucher (English: The Butcher) is a 1970 French thriller film written and directed by Claude Chabrol. The film had a total of 1,148,554 admissions in France. [1]

Plot synopsis

Hélène Daville (Stéphane Audran) is a confident, slightly naïve young teacher who is adored by her pupils at the school where she works and lives. She meets the local butcher, Paul Thomas, called "Popaul" (Jean Yanne), at a wedding ceremony, and they strike up a close but platonic relationship. The film examines how Hélène handles her suspicion of Popaul as a series of women in the small town fall victim to an unknown murderer.

Themes in the film

Chabrol plays on conventionality, as it is represented in film. The distinctions between murderer and victim are at times blurred. The ideal small community that Chabrol establishes seems to mirror so many others and the characters he uses represent the eroding authenticity that is characteristic in films which seek to capture an “old world feel.” Popaul comes across as an innocent, laid-back, simple butcher, who mentions his experiences in Algeria and Indochina repeatedly. Hélène is admired in the community for her selfless dedication to children she forgoes a personal life for servitude. Chabrol hints that these characters are not as they seem. Repression and representation seem to be themes Chabrol works with in the film. In confronting repression and representation as Chabrol does, a character, who seems as altruistic as Hélène, takes on a new connotation. Little does Hélène realise that she is driving Popaul to these acts, leaving him stranded with his demons and self-disgust.[2]

Even before he met Hélène, Popaul was tortured. Towards the end of the film, he delivers a soliloquy that allows the viewer to sympathize with him:

I have a lot of blood – my blood doesn’t stop flowing. I know about blood. I’ve seen so much blood, blood flowing. … Once, when I was little, I fainted when I saw blood. I noticed the smell of blood – they all smell the same, that of animals and that of men. Some is more red than others, but all have exactly the same smell.



  1. JP (1970-02-27). "Le Boucher (1970)". JPBox-Office. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
  2. "Le Boucher (1969) Cannon, Damien. 1997". Film.u-net.com. Retrieved 2011-01-25.

External links

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