Katie Kitamura’s latest, A Separation (Riverhead Books), is a suspenseful account of intimacy and infidelity, unfolding in a remote Greek Village. To pair with her highly acclaimed new work, Kitamura has chosen Claude Chabrol’s seminal relationship thriller Le Boucher.
Claude Chabrol, France/Italy, 1970, 93m
French with English subtitles
Naïve and selfless schoolteacher Hélène (Stéphane Audran)—the picture of sympathy and popularity—befriends ostensibly gentle butcher Popaul (Jean Yanne, playing both pathetic and menacing) at a wedding in the small village where they both live. They enter into an unexpectedly solid-seeming relationship. But after a number of girls are murdered nearby, Hélène finds herself grappling with her intensifying suspicions that Popaul is responsible, especially when a lighter she’d given him as a gift turns up at one of the crime scenes… Le Boucher fully expresses Chabrol’s Hitchcockian project of infusing suspense with social critique, spellbindingly unveiling the monstrous urges rumbling behind the facade of provincial gentility.
Kitamura on Le Boucher: “The whispers of children, a face behind a pane of glass, a drop of blood on a piece of bread—in Le Boucher, Claude Chabrol arranges these components into a masterpiece of fear and complicity. The film is both thriller and love story, the pacing is immaculate, and the denouement is ice cold.”
About Katie Kitamura: Katie Kitamura is a critic and novelist living in New York City. She is the author of Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, both of which were finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. A recipient of a Lannan Residency Fellowship, Kitamura has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and is a regular contributor to Frieze. Her latest novel, A Separation, was published by Riverhead Books.