The Breach

The Breach, also titled The Breakup, is a 1970 French–Italian–Belgian drama film written and directed by Claude Chabrol, based on the novel The Balloon Man by Charlotte Armstrong. It follows a mother's struggle for custody of her son against her husband's parents.


Hélène Régnier's drug-addicted husband Charles injures their son Michel in a violent rage. She beats Charles to the floor with a frying pan, flees with Michel and moves into a boarding house next to the hospital where Michel is recovering. Hélène starts divorce proceedings with the help of lawyer Allan Jourdan, who offers to support her case although she can hardly pay him. Meanwhile, Charles' wealthy and manipulative parents, who never approved of his marriage, take their son back in, determined to secure custody of Michel. Ludovic Régnier hires Paul Thomas, a family acquaintance whose father lost his money due to Ludovic's business operations, to find damaging material on Hélène. Paul moves into the boarding house and, with the help of his girlfriend Sonia, plots to ruin Hélène's reputation. In the end, the plot fails. The final images show Hélène, induced with drugs by Paul, wandering around in a fantasised world, while the outcome of the custody case is left open.

    More details

    director Claude Chabrol
    editor Jacques Gaillard
    genre drama
    keywords boarding house end wander
    musicBy Pierre Jansen
    producer André Génovès
    publisher Gaumont Film Company New Line Cinema
    recordedAt Paris