In “A Women’s Affair”, Isabelle Huppert performs clandestine and illegal abortions in occupied France. Her character, Marie Latour, is inspired by Marie-Louise Giraud, “an angel maker” sentenced to death for her actions.
A women’s affair : “an angel maker” in occupied France
Ten years after Violette NoziereClaude Chabrol once again directs Isabelle Huppert for A women’s affair. The director and the actress meet later on Madame Bovary, The Ceremony, Nothing is going right, Thank you for the chocolate and The drunkenness of power.
For this second collaboration freely inspired by the eponymous work of Francis Szpinerpublished in 1986, the actress lends her features to Marie Latour. In occupied France, this woman lives modestly with her two children. One day, she agrees to help a friend who wants an abortion. Understanding that she can benefit from this activity, Marie offers her services to other women, which allows her to lift her family out of poverty.
After the return of her husband Paul (François Cluzet), she also partners with Lucie (Marie Trintignant), a prostitute to whom she rents a room in her apartment for her passes. She also begins an affair with Lucien (Nils Tavernier), a collaborator. Suspicious of his illegal activities and bruised by his adultery, Paul ends up putting his wife’s life in danger.
Lolita Chammah, Dominique Blanc and Dani complete the cast of this drama, for which Isabelle Huppert wins an interpretation prize at the Venice Film Festival. Upon its release, the feature film, critical of hypocrisy and denunciation in Petainist Francearouses Vatican wrath because of the blasphemous remarks made by Marie in the conclusion. In a cinema in Montparnasse, fundamentalist Catholics detonate a tear gas canister during a screening ofA women’s affairwhich causes the death of a cardiac spectator. During the same period, similar attacks were perpetrated as a form of revolt against The Last Temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese.
Marie-Louise Giraud, one of the last French women guillotined
Claude Chabrol is based on the life of Marie-Louise Giraud for his film, which he co-wrote with Colo Tavernier O’Hagan. Born November 17, 1903 in Barneville, Calvados, this restaurant waitress helped an 18-year-old neighbor to have an abortion during the Second World War.
Marie-Louise Giraud then offers her services to other women for remuneration, which allows her to buy a house in Cherbourg. According to The world, she convinces herself to have “a gift”. Her patients contact her through three seers. In January 1942, according to the site news.frone of them succumbed to sepsis after 15 days of fighting the infection.
A few months later, in October 1942, an anonymous letter denounces “the maker of angels”. After her arrest, Marie-Louise Giraud acknowledges the charges against her. She reportedly said:
I regret what I did. I promise not to do it again.
Apologies which however prove to be insufficient during her trial, during which President Paul Devise insists on the immorality of the acts committed by the accused. After his death sentence, Marshal Pétain refuses to pardon Marie-Louise Giraud, considered “an assassin of the fatherland”. On July 30, 1943, she was guillotined at the age of 39 in the courtyard of La Roquette prison, in Paris, for having practiced 27 abortions. She now rests in the cemetery of Ivry, in the Val de Marne.
Like Marie Latour in A women’s affair Marie-Louise Giraud rented rooms to prostitutes in Cherbourg. And like the character, she was a mother of two children.