Serie Noire is a French film originally released in theaters in 1979. Rialto Pictures restored and rereleased it on the big screen in 2019.
Door-to-door salesman Franck Poupart goes searching for a debtor, Andreas Tikides, at a rundown manse where an old woman and her niece live. The old woman, wronged by Tikides, offers him information and then offers sex with her niece in exchange for a housecoat. Confused and intrigued, Franck takes her up on the offer, but discovers Mona
is little more than a child who is being exploited. He leaves to collect his debt and pass it off as payment for the purchase of the housecoat.
Franck returns to his dirty home and struggles with his wife, Jeanne. After he hits her, she leaves him, destroying his things while he drowns his sorrows at a local bar.
The next day, Franck goes to the office to meet his boss, Staplin, who confronts him about the discrepancies in his accounting. Staplin hands him over to a police inspector and he’s taken to jail. Mona steals money from her aunt to bail him out and tells Franck that the old woman has millions of francs stashed away. Franck decides to rob the woman and free Mona. He finds Tikides again, gets him drunk, and enlists him in going to the house.
Tikides waits outside while Franck enters the house and kills the old woman. He frantically searches the house for the woman’s gun, calls Tikides inside, and shoots him. He instructs Mona to call the cops and say that Tikides and her aunt killed each other. When Franck returns home with the money, Jeanne has returned, complicating his plan to flee with Mona when the heat dies down.
Franck uses the money the pretend that he has made sales. Staplin is suspicious of Franck after reading about the murders in the newspaper. Jeanne is also suspicious and tries to get Franck to tell her what happened. Things seem to be going to plan, until Mona shows up and asks to stay with Franck. He decides to get the cash from home and leave with her. When Jeanne confronts him again, Franck, amid his rapidly deteriorating mental state, strangles her.
Soon after, Staplin appears, demanding that Franck give him the money he stole. After taking a beating from Franck, Staplin leaves with the money. Having lost everything, Franck goes to Mona on the street and happily spins her around shouting “There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore!