Abortion on Screen: Story of Women (1988): Chabrol’s Fact-Based Drama, Starring Isabelle Huppert

Story of Women (1988)

Claude Chabrol’s film stars the indefatigable Isabelle Huppert as Marie Latour, a complex character based on Marie-Louise Giraud.

In 1943, she was the last woman to be guillotined in France, after being convicted for her illegal work as an abortionist.

This gripping tale about an enterprising housewife who begins performing abortions in her kitchen to support her family in Vichy France is made all the better by Huppert’s resolute and unnerving performance.

She was deservedly named best actress at the Venice Film Festival.

Chabrol’s layered tale resists sentimentalizing Latour’s work, resulting in an absorbing portrait of a woman trying to make ends meet, and in the process providing much needed services to other women.