Several sex workers have been killed and the populace is in a panic as a serial killer is on the loose. Then, a woman named Hélène Picard is executed for the crimes, yet within a few weeks, they start all over again as a mysterious woman is seen with the victims moments before they are killed. Meanwhile, the man who executed Hélène, Louis Guilbeau (Claude Merlin) begins a relationship with the woman who arrested her, Solange (Solange Pradel), yet he may not be who he claims to be.

A Woman Kills was directed by Jean-Denis Bonan, who was dealing with censors being enraged by his first short film, A Season for Mankind, which meant that producer Anatole Dauman was unable to find distribution for the film for 45 years until Luna Park Films brought it back to life in a new restoration.

What emerges is a film at the center of arthouse and grindhouse, yet leaning to the former. It has the POV shots of a slasher, yet the look and feel of the French New Wave mixed with German expressionism all with a short running time and a soundtrack that makes the whole thing feel ill at ease. In short, I loved it, a film that presents how the thriller or krimi may have become a genre of its own — in an alternate timeline — in France instead of Italy.

Look for a Jean Rollin in a small role!

The Radiance Films blu ray release of A Woman Kills — the worldwide blu ray debut that features a 2K restoration of the film from the original 16mm elements — comes with a number of exclusive newly-commissioned and archival bonus features such as audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Virginie Sélavy; an introduction by Virginie Sélavy; On the Margin: The Cursed Films of Jean-Denis Bonan, a newly updated documentary program featuring director Jean-Denis Bonan, cinematographer Gérard de Battista, editor Mireille Abramovici, musician Daniel Lalou and actress Jackie Rynal; several films by Jean-Denis Bonan: La vie brève de Monsieur Meucieu, Un crime d’amour, the incomplete Tristesses des anthropophages, Mathieu-fou and Une saison chez les hommes; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm and a limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and scholar Catherine Wheatley, writer and broadcaster Richard Thomas on the short films, writing on gender identity tropes in A Woman Kills and the horror film, an interview with Francis Lecomte, the French distributor who rescued the film, newly translated archival reviews and film credits. You can get it from MVD.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.