Cop au Vin

Cop au Vin (French: Poulet au vinaigre) is a 1985 French crime film directed by Claude Chabrol. It was entered into the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.[2] The original French title is a pun: it literally means "vinegar chicken," but "poulet" is also French slang for "cop." Chabrol made a sequel in 1986 titled Inspecteur Lavardin.

Cop au Vin
Film poster
Directed byClaude Chabrol
Produced byMarin Karmitz
Written byClaude Chabrol
Dominique Roulet
StarringJean Poiret
CinematographyJean Rabier
Edited byMonique Fardoulis
Release date
  • 10 April 1985 (1985-04-10)
Running time
119 minutes
Box office$5.7 million[1]


In a small town in Normandy, Louis Cuno, a young postman and his crippled and half-mad mother, are repeatedly harassed by three local notables: the notary Lavoisier, the doctor Morasseau, and the butcher Filiol. They want the Cunos to sell their house because it stands in the way of a lucrative real estate deal.

When Louis provokes the death of Filiol in a car accident, Inspector Jean Lavardin arrives to investigate. His unorthodox detective methods would allow him to solve a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances that accompany a serious case of real estate scheming.



Jonathan Rosenbaum in Chicago Reader said "it wasn't a masterpiece, but at the very least it was a well-crafted and satisfying entertainment" that had "sex, violence, dark wit, a superb sense of both the corruption and meanness of life in the French provinces, a good whodunit plot, Balzacian characters... and very nice camera work by Jean Rabier."[3] Time Out remarked "it is all done with the skittishness which Chabrol brings to this kind of policier, but given edge by his very mocking eye."[4] Variety said "the plotting here wouldn’t pass muster on an episode of PBS’ “Mystery!,” but there’s pleasure to be had in veteran thesp Jean Poiret’s soaked-in-vinegar turn as Lavardin, a gimlet-eyed sleuth with a violent streak that surfaces unexpectedly, yet always at just the right moments."[5]


Chabrol directed a sequel, Inspecteur Lavardin, in 1986. It was followed by a four-part TV series, Les Dossiers de l'inspecteur Lavardin (1989-1990), also starring Jean Poiret.


  1. "Poulet au vinaigre (1985)- JPBox-Office". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  2. "Festival de Cannes: Chicken with Vinegar". Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  3. Rosenbaum, Jonathan (25 May 1989). "French Provincial". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  4. "Cop au Vin 1984, directed by Claude Chabrol | Film review". Time Out London. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  5. Chang, Justin (17 December 2006). "Claude Chabrol's Tales of Deceit". Variety. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
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