Claude Ventura’s film came about for peculiar reasons.
We decided to produce Jean-Pierre Denis’ feature film, “Les blessures assassines,” about the Papin sisters who murdered their employers early last century.
Less intrigued by the sensational aspects of the case, we wanted to focus on a personal portrait of this pair of sisters, centering the film around their emotional connection. Natural, therefore, that it should end when the sisters are separated and imprisoned, that is, prior to their trial, sentencing, long before their personal story became one of the most notorious French scandals of its time.
Claude Ventura’s documentary is a way to respond to issues raised by Jean-Pierre Denis’ feature. Why has this tale so captured people’s imaginations? Why has it fascinated Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Genet and Jacques Lacan?
To find an answer, it was obligatory that we return to Le Mans, where the sisters had lived. The 30s, provincial life, prejudice, the bourgeoisie…
What were the circumstances leading to the murders, in what context did the trial take place?
With these thoughts in mind, we got in touch with Claude Ventura. Like many others, we were great admirers of his program “Cinéma-cinémas.”
Claude transforms his subjects into true pieces of cinema. Far from unraveling dreams, he embellishes them, thus enriching our imaginations. And it was his feeling for fiction that interested us.
Could he take the elements of this true-life story and conjure up an imaginative arena wherein we’re transported back in time to a city that no longer exists, able to share these lives that have left little trace, encounter the main players in and decipher the motives for the crime?