Patrice Chéreau, 1978
France | French with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 125 minutes
The great Simone Signoret (famed for her roles in pre-New Wave masterpieces like Casque d’Or and Diabolique) stars as an aging veteran of the French resistance who agrees to help protect a struggling left-leaning newspaper from its powerful competitors in Chéreau’s tragic second feature. Miles away from the fantastical, fairy-tale-inflected territory of The Flesh of the Orchid, Judith Therpauve is an unsparing social realist fable both contemporary (regional, free-agent presses were dying out at the time in France) and timeless. In Chéreau’s words, it’s the story of “a lone woman who fights with dignity, amid confusion and uncertainty, for what she knows is a lost cause.” Print courtesy of Institut Français, Paris.