After nearly a decade of groundbreaking theater work, Chéreau made his film directing debut with this grim, visually stunning gangster movie-cum-fairy tale. A beautiful young woman (Charlotte Rampling), imprisoned by her aunt in a castle-like asylum, flees for the open road, only to wind up in the company of another fugitive: a horse-rearing outsider (Bruno Cremer) on the run from two murderous gangsters. Anchored by Rampling’s strong performance and magnificent, rain-drenched cinematography from the legendary Pierre Lhomme—plus a knockout cameo by Simone Signoret—The Flesh of the Orchid is an underseen genre gem, not to mention a testament to Chéreau’s enormous range: a year after directing this pulpy thriller, he premiered his now-legendary Bayrouth staging of the Ring cycle.