8 women (8 femmes)
Threat advisory: Under evaluation
8 women. All of them suspects. One of them is guilty. Which one?
An isolated mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France.
A family is gathered for the holiday season... but there will be no celebration - their beloved patriarch has been murdered!
The killer can only be one of the 8 women closest to the man of the house. Was it his powerful wife? His spinster sister-in-law? His miserly mother-in-law? Maybe the insolent chambermaid or the loyal housekeeper? Or could it possibly have been one of his two pretty young daughters?
A surprise visit from the victim's glamorous sister turns the investigation into a day of hysterics, rivalries and even musical interludes. Comic situations are spiced with dark family secrets. Seduction dances with betrayal.
The mystery of the female psyche is revealed. Eight women. All of them suspects. Each has a motive. Each has a secret. Eight women. Beautiful, tempestuous, intelligent, sensual and dangerous... one of them is guilty. Which one is it?
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film France French murder mystery musical comedy fifties women
Persons of interest
- Catherine Deneuve .... Gaby
- Isabelle Huppert .... Augustine
- Emmanuelle Béart .... Louise
- Fanny Ardant .... Pierrette
- Virginie Ledoyen .... Suzon
- Danielle Darrieux .... Mamy
- Firmine Richard .... Madame Chanel
- Ludivine Sagnier .... Catherine
- Dominique Lamure .... Marcel
- Robert Thomas .... Playwright
- François Ozon .... Screenwriter
- François Ozon .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- 8 women (8 femmes) official movie site
- 8 women (8 femmes) QuickTime movie trailers:
- Awards and film festivals:
- Berlin International Film Festival 2002: Silver bear for individual artistic achievement for its ensemble cast
- San Sebastián Film Festival 2002: Screening
- Sutherland Shire Film Festival 2002: Screening
- Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Special Presentation
- Director's statement
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
Media intelligence (DVD)
- Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
- Languages: French
- Picture: Widescreen
- Special features:
- Interviews: Cast and crew
- Trailers: Movie
- Subtitles: English
Security censorship classification
M (Low level violence, adult themes)
106 minutes (1:46 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
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After having seen again Cukor's The women, I had checked into the rights to the theatre play on which the film was based. I soon learned the remake rights had already been taken for several years in Hollywood by Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan, so I abandoned my project of doing a french version of The women. But thanks to the help of Dominique Besnehard, I discovered 8 femmes, a 1960s crime play. 8 femmes was written by Robert Thomas, a writer somewhat forgotten but who had his moment of glory in 1970s mainstream french theatre and who made his fortune when one of his plays was bought by Alfred Hitchcock (unfortunately, the adaptation never happened due to Hitchcock's death.)
8 femmes instantly seemed ideal for my feminine film project. From the play, I mainly kept the setting and a simplified version of the story. I've tried to strengthen the humour, deepen the characters and add complexity and modernity to the rivalries and family problems between the eight women. I wanted to make a comedy combining a classic crime thriller with Agatha Christie-like intrigues and a closed environment where the murderer is among the group. But underneath this surface, I wanted to paint a light and amusing reflection on femininity, actresses, class struggle and family secrets.
Like water drops on burning rocks, 8 femmes is an anti-naturalist film which focuses on stylisation and the artificial to heighten feminine beauty and glamour. All the actresses had to be of the kind of beauty that makes the audience dream so that the cruelty and horror become even more colourful, meaningful and strange.
Placing the action in the 1950s helped give credibility to the extravagant situation of these eight “caged” women, as well as to the story's wild twists and turns, and as much to the film's artificial effects. But the french 50s, often in black and white (like in the sombre films of Julien Duvivier, Jean Delannoy or Claude Autant-Lara), are less of a reference than the technicolor of Vincent Minelli musical comedies and the flamboyant Douglas Sirk melodramas.
The songs of 8 femmes, performed by the actresses but arranged in 50s style, help to distinguish the time period. The songs also allow each character to unveil her inner life, as a sort of monologue both moving and comic.