Cinema: High-Power Potion

Thérèse tells a wicked tale wrought from François Mauriac's 1927 novel Thérèse Desqueyroux and tells it in old-fashioned cinematic style. It is literate, formal, filmed with impeccable taste. It captures the dark spirit of Mauriac's novel almost too perfectly. Best of all, in Emmanuèle Riva (star of Hiroshima, Mon Amour) it has a vivid Thérèse, that young woman so desperate to escape "the slow, sure, horrible suffocation of provincial life" that she poisons her husband.

Bernard survives, however. He even lies to save her, and as Thérèse rides home from court to try to tell him why she did it, her...

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