Cinema: Servant Problem

Les Abysses is drawn from a celebrated French murder case of 1933, which also inspired Jean Genet's drama The Maids. Selected by Andre Malraux as France's entry in the 1963 Cannes film festival, it arrives in the U.S. trailing breathless encomiums from Jean-Paul Sartre ("Cinema has given us its foremost tragedy"), and Simone de Beauvoir ("One of the greatest films I have ever seen"). Since such illustrious, finely honed sensibilities are not easily ignored, the ordinary moviegoer probably ought to read what has been written about the movie instead of actually sitting through...

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