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A Judgement in Stone (1995) - movie overview

A Judgement in Stone (1995)

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Plot Description
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Original title:

Release Date
• USA: Dec 20, 1996
DVD Release Date
• R1: Jul 27, 2004

Running Time
1 hour, 52 minutes

Country France, Germany

Studio MK2 Productions, MKL Distribution

More info on

Other Titles
• A Judgement in Stone

• The Ceremony

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Genre: Drama, Suspense, Black Comedy, Revenge, Experimental, Disturbing, Satire

Plot: In Claude Chabrol's LA CEREMONIE, the wealthy Lelievre family live in a grand estate in the calm isolation of the French countryside. All that lacks in their lustrous lifestyle is the perfect maid, who they believe to have found in the shy and recalcitrant Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire). The match seems to be perfect and Sophie proves to be "a bit bizarre, but a real pearl" according to Madame Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset). Sophie remains distanced from the family and only comes out of her shell when she meets Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), the spirited and gruff local postal clerk with a grudge against the Lelievres. The two spark a friendship based on their mutual distrust of the slightly aloof Lelievres and they soon learn that they have similar secret pasts. But as Sophie and the postal clerk work themselves into a veritable frenzy of hatred and disdain, Sophie hides an even more troubling secret that fills every moment of her life with shame and terror, and only serves to increase her antagonism towards the Lelievres.

Claude Chabrol masterfully guides what starts as a seemingly slight drama into his patent Hitchcockian terrain of explosive psychological melodrama, all couched within a brutal yet detached critique of the bourgeoisie. Bonnaire is icily terrifying as the intense and

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 Directed by
Claude Chabrol
Nightcap, Enfer, L', The Butcher
 Written by
Ruth Rendell
Alias Betty, No Night Is Too Long, Inquiétudes
Claude Chabrol
Unfaithful, Nightcap, Enfer, L'
Isabelle Huppert
I Heart Huckabees, 8 Women, The Piano Teacher
Jacqueline Bisset
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Domino, Bullitt
Virginie Ledoyen
The Beach, 8 Women, Bon voyage
Sandrine Bonnaire
East-West, Intimate Strangers, Monsieur Hire
Jean-Pierre Cassel
The Crimson Rivers, Prêt-à-Porter, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Valentin Merlet
The Dreamers, Olé!, Peurs
 Music By
Matthieu Chabrol
Nightcap, Enfer, L', The Flower of Evil

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Infernal Trio, The (1974)
Judgment in Stone, A (1986)
Visitor Q (2001)
Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

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