Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Chaos 2002


Directed by Coline Serreau

France In French with English subtitles
115 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Alain Sarde


Jean-Francois Robin


Catherine Renault


Ludovic Navarre


Catherine Frot (Helene)
Vincent Lindon (Paul)
Rachida Brakni (Noemie/Malika)
Line Renaud (Marnie)
Aurelien Wilk (Fabrice)
Wojtek Pszoniak (Pali)


Berlin 2002


Best New Actress Rachida Brakni, César Awards 2003


An action-packed comedy-thriller with a sharp, satirical edge, Chaos is the latest assault on male vanity from Coline Serreau, the writer/director of Three Men and a Baby and Romuald and Juliette. An amusingly brisk, well-heeled couple Paul and Hélène (Vincent Lindon and Catherine Frot) are heading out for a business dinner when their car almost runs down a young woman fleeing from God-knows-what. Paul’s impulse is to lock the doors and drive off. Hélène ‘s impulse is to help. She resolves to track down the young woman, a prostitute, and finds her in hospital. As she learns Malika’s history of exploitation and survival, she is drawn into collusion with her and the two plot revenge on her assailants. Soon husband and adolescent son are facing the challenge of tending to their own laundry. As the vengeful Malika, the striking Comédie Française actress Rachida Brakni is a mesmerising femme fatale.

“A breathlessly involving tale of urban indifference, rampant hypocrisy and the difference a little human decency can make, this superbly played picture is a black comedy that’s frequently funny but never frivolous as it takes a merciless but instructive look at French society here and now.” — Lisa Nesselson, Variety 

Chaos is an apt title for a film with such an encompassing and critical view of hectic modern life in its cruel self-absorption. But as a work of skilled screen craftsmanship, it is, in its construction and execution, anything but chaotic.” — Kevin Thomas, LA Times