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|Directed by||Claude Chabrol|
|Produced by||Marin Karmitz|
|Screenplay by||Claude Chabrol|
|Based on||Madame Bovary|
by Gustave Flaubert
|Narrated by||François Périer|
|Music by||Jean-Michel Bernard|
|Edited by||Monique Fardoulis|
|Distributed by||MK2 Diffusion|
Set in Normandy in the 1850s, the film follows the story of Emma Bovary, an attractive young woman full of romantic notions, whose marriage to an unexciting country doctor leads her to adulterous affairs, debts and eventual suicide.
Facing a boring spinsterhood on her widowed father's farm, Emma agrees to marry the local doctor. Charles Bovary is kindly and conscientious, but limited in his medical skills and hopelessly dull. She has a baby, in which she is not particularly interested, and through the pharmacist Homais her husband acquires a post in a larger town. There she meets the law clerk Léon, with whom she can talk about art and literature and music, but he leaves to study in Paris. The parish priest is not much help over her unhappiness. But the womanising landowner Rodolphe decides he would like a little affair with her and, under the pretence of offering riding lessons, finds her more than willing.
When she demands that they run away together, he leaves town. She is in despair, until she discovers that Léon has found a job in the city of Rouen nearby. Under the pretence of having piano lessons, she takes the regular coach to Rouen and meets him in a hotel. To pay the cost of the coach fares, the hotel room, smart clothes to go to town and gifts to Léon, she runs up debts with the conniving shopkeeper Lheureux. When he puts pressure on her for repayment, neither of her lovers will help and she cannot face the truth coming out. Bailiffs seize the contents of the house, which is put up for sale by court order, and a lawyer she consults wants sex in return for his help. After eating rat poison, she dies in prolonged agony. Her husband, devastated when he learns all that has happened, dies of grief. Their child ends up with a penniless aunt, who puts her to work in a factory.
It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film as well as for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. It was also entered into the 17th Moscow International Film Festival where Isabelle Huppert won the award for Best Actress.
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