Claude Chabrol's Violette was based on the true story of 19-year-old Violette Noziere, who in the 1930s was tried and convicted for the poisoning of her father and the attempted murder of her mother.
As played by Isabelle Huppert (who won several awards for her performance), Violette is a thrill-seeking girl who falls for a no-good slug from the slums of Paris. Anxious to give money to her lover, Violette hatches the patricide scheme in order to inherit her father's fortune.
But Violette's mother, played as an deglamorized drudge by the otherwise stunning Stephane Audran, is not so easily disposed of; it is her testimony that condemns Violette, first to the guillotine, then to a commuted life sentence.
In emulation of his idol Alfred Hitchcock, director Chabrol manages to evoke a measure of sympathy and audience identification for his thoroughly dislikable leading character.