The Flower of Evil

Part of a multi-title set | Twisting the Knife: Four Films by Claude Chabrol


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In The Flower of Evil (La Fleur Du Mal), incest, old money and intergenerational guilt come under the scalpel as an outwardly perfect bourgeois family begins to unravel when the wife involves herself in politics.

Picture 9/10

The fourth and final dual-layer disc in Arrow’s second box set devoted to the work of Claude Chabrol, Twisting the Knife: Four Films by Claude Chabrol, presents The Flower of Evil in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation is sourced from a new 4K restoration.

It’s yet another sharp looking presentation taken from a gorgeous base scan, capturing the film’s grain structure beautifully. The encode renders it cleanly and naturally, even in the shadows of the darker sequences, with individual hairs, tight patterns, and even pebbles on pathways leaping wonderfully off of the screen. The restoration work has also been very thorough, and other then a spec here and there I can't say any sort of significant issue ever stuck out.

Colours, yet again, have a teal bias, but, in this case, it feels appropriate, as though there is an overcast of sorts over the events. The colour scheme of the film does come off cooler, featuring lots of grays, blues, and greens, so the hue works better in this case. The darker sequences also show wider range in the shadows compared to the other films in the set, the blacks rarely coming off all that murky, which in turn leads to a wonderful sense of depth.

Whether the colours are correct or not I can’t say, but the hue doesn’t appear to have impacted the image in any negative way, and I found it to be the most pleasing presentation in the set.

Audio 7/10

Like the previous film, Arrow includes a lossless PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround soundtrack. I only listened to the 5.1 track. Again, it’s not an aggressive or showy soundtrack, but it gets the job done. Music and some background effects are mixed effectively through the speakers, and dialogue sounds sharp with nice depth and range. There is also no damage or distortion present.

Extras 8/10

Farran Smith Nehme starts the features off with a brand new audio commentary, recorded exclusively for this edition. Nehme delves into topics covered in the other tracks found throughout both of Arrow's Chabrol sets: Chabrol's usual poking at the bourgeoisie, how the film might play on genre conventions, and how the film fits in with his other late period films, among other topics. Yet, impressively, she still manages to provide some new insights when focussing on the film's structure, how Chabrol foreshadows events, or even how he films and edits key moments, which includes moments of violence. She also explains the significance of key moments or the symbolism behind specific details, like the lamprey dish served early on or the mention of Lizzie Borden. The track also runs at a nice pace and does have a loose feel, but moves naturally from one topic to another without losing focus. It's a good track to close the two sets on.

Also new is a video essay created by journalist Agnès C. Poirer. Through the 14-minute segment she references interviews she conducted with Chabrol over a couple of years, recalling his openness and wit, before talking about his work and the common elements you could find between his films, whether it be exposing the dark underbelly of the bourgeoisie or how he developed characters through social gatherings, like dinners. It’s brief but it’s a wonderfully assembled, and personal reflection on the man and his work.

The remaining features are all archival, created for previous releases. There’s another 3-minute introduction by critic Joël Magny, who talks about the film in relation to it being the final part of a trilogy that includes La cérémonie and Nightcap. The disc also features one of the longer Claude Chabrol select-scene commentaries, running 49-minutes. This one follows a similar pattern as the others, Chabrol going over hid thought process behind constructing sequences and shots, from appropriately capturing glances to playing with the tone. This one also features some alternate takes and behind-the-scenes snippets, along with freeze frames to highlight moments. Also included here is a behind-the-scenes featurette running 25-minutes, offering up on-set footage and interviews with cast and crew, which includes Chabrol and co-writer Catherine Eliacheff. She also appears in her own 25-minute interview, discussing The Flower of Evil along with, briefly, La cérémonie and Nightcap. She talks about the shared themes and elements between the films, but I should warn there are spoilers for the other two films.

The disc then closes off with the film’s trailer and then a super-tiny gallery that only includes three posters.

Not the most packed edition in the set but I enjoyed going through the material on here, finding the commentaries and interviews especially engaging this time around.


Featuring what is probably the strongest looking presentation accompanied by an engaging roster of extras, Arrow's disc for The Flower of Evil closes their new Chabrol set off in a satisfying manner.

Part of a multi-title set | Twisting the Knife: Four Films by Claude Chabrol


Directed by: Claude Chabrol
Year: 2003
Time: 104 min.
Series: Arrow Video
Licensor: MK2
Release Date: April 26 2022
MSRP: $99.95  (Box set exclusive)
1 Disc | BD-50
1.66:1 ratio
French 1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono
French 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround
Subtitles: English
Regions A/B/C
 Brand new audio commentary by film critic Farran Smith Nehme   Behind the Masks: Remembering Claude Chabrol, a brand new appreciation by Agnès C. Poirier, author of Left Bank: Arts, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940-1950 in which she shares her personal reminiscence of Claude Chabrol and considers his unique position in French culture and cinema   Behind the scenes featurette   Archive interview with co-writer Catherine Eliacheff   Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny   Select scene commentaries by director Claude Chabrol   Theatrical trailer   Image gallery