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La veuve Couderc (1971) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Her youth has been spent working for a farm family, being raped by father and son, marrying the son who has now left her a happy widow. She is happy because World War I is over and she is enjoying being in control of the farm. And then she hires the handsome stranger who helped her carry the new incubator for chicks from the bus and across the canal. In the house by the canal with the job of raising and lowering the bridge for passing boats lives the widow's envious sister-in-law along with husband and nubile daughter.

  • In 1934, in a little village on a canal in Burgundy, a laconic young stranger called Jean is walking along the road when an older woman in black gets off a bus with a heavy load. He helps her carry it to her farm, where she offers him work and a room. He accepts, and soon she is in his bed. She is the widow Couderc, running the farm single-handed with her infirm father-in-law. Across the canal live her sister-in-law and ineffectual husband, who are trying to evict the widow and gain the property. They have a 16 year old daughter, Félicie, who has already managed to have a baby, father uncertain. Jean enjoys helping on the farm, but will reveal little of his past. His father was rich, he says, and he wanted to become a doctor but killed a man, ending up in jail from which he has escaped. The widow accepts his story, but her trust is strained when he can't resist sleeping with the alluring Félicie as well. The situation is taken out of her hands when her sister-in-law denounces Jean to the police, who surround the farm at dawn. When Jean fires on them, both he and the widow are killed in the ensuing fusillade.

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