Like his compatriot Jean-Luc Godard, director Claude Chabrol has always been fond of manipulating genres. Typically working within the conventions of the crime thriller, Chabrol's movies prefer a clinical, aloof detachment which allows for all sorts of commentary on the suspense genre itself. In the case of the director's La Cérémonie, the suspense of the story comes from the menace of class conflict rather than standard thrills. Two of France's most esteemed actresses, Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert, hold the misanthropic story together with unnerving portrayals of "ice and fire"; they shared Best Actress honors at the Venice Film Festival for their work. The film was another in a series of comebacks for Chabrol, who repeatedly falls in and out of favor with critics and audiences. La Cérémonie was his most respected, successful work since 1988's The Story of Women.