The Flower of Evil (film)

The Flower of Evil
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Produced by Marin Karmitz
Written by Caroline Eliacheff & Louise L. Lambrichs
Adaptation and dialogue by Claude Chabrol
Starring Nathalie Baye
Benoît Magimel
Suzanne Flon
Bernard Le Coq
Mélanie Doutey
Thomas Chabrol
Music by Matthieu Chabrol
Cinematography Eduardo Serra
Edited by Monique Fardoulis
Distributed by MK2
Release dates
  • 2003 (2003)
Running time
104 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget € 7,400,000
Box office € 9,180,095

The Flower of Evil (original title: La fleur du mal) is a 2003 French film by Claude Chabrol.

It tells of an outwardly perfect family in Bordeaux, whose seeming perfection begins to unravel when the wife involves herself in politics. A corpse surfaces just before the local election and the spectre of past family indiscretion resurfaces in mysterious deaths and other scandals.


In a grand house at Bordeaux lives Gérard, owner of a pharmaceutical business. A drinker and fornicator, he disgusts his son François, recently returned from the USA. To Gérard’s disgust, his second wife Anne is a candidate in the municipal election.

Her daughter by her first marriage, Michèle, is excited by the return of François and the two go off for a weekend at Pyla, where they become lovers. Anne’s old aunt Line encourages the pair.

Anne’s campaign takes a jolt when she and her family are smeared in an anonymous tract. The family suspect that Gérard is the author. Not everybody believes the slanders and the outgoing mayor, impressed by Anne’s qualities, promises her his job if she wins a seat.

On the night of the count everybody is at the town hall except Michéle, who has to finish an assignment for her university course. Gérard sneaks home drunk and tries to rape her, but in the struggle falls and dies.

Line then confesses to Michèle that she had loved her brother too closely, until he was executed in the Second World War as a member of the French Resistance. The man who ordered the execution was their father, a Nazi collaborator, so Line killed him. She says she will now take the blame for killing Gérard.

A cavalcade of hooting cars then sweeps into the drive and Anne’s supporters throng into the house to toast her victory in champagne.

Awards and nominations


Berlin International Film Festival Official Selection


Goya Awards

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