The Ceremony

Not to be confused with features of the same title by Nagisa Oshima or Laurence Harvey, this expertly contrived and ultimately shocking 1995 psychological thriller is the best feature by New Wave filmmaker Claude Chabrol since 1971’s Just Before Nightfall. A mysterious, haunting tale, the plot centers on a sullen if dutiful maid (Sandrine Bonnaire), a postal worker who becomes her best friend (Isabelle Huppert), and a likable bourgeois family (Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, A Single Girl’s Virginie Ledoyen, and Valentin Merlet) that the two women are fated to despise. Adapted from Ruth Rendell’s novel A Judgment in Stone and coscripted by a psychoanalyst, Caroline Eliacheff, this film unfolds with the rigor of a dream. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, February 7 through 13.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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