Of the hallowed group of Cahiers du cinéma critics turned filmmakers who transformed French film history, Claude Chabrol was the first to direct his own feature. His absorbing landmark debut, Le beau Serge, follows a successful yet sickly young man (Jean-Claude Brialy) who returns home to the small village where he grew up. There, he finds himself at odds with his former close friend (Gérard Blain)—now unhappily married and a wretched alcoholic—and the provincial life he represents. The remarkable and stark Le beau Serge heralded the arrival of a cinematic titan who would go on to craft provocative, entertaining films for five more decades. (-Criterion) Continue reading
When the young Jeanne finds out that she could have mistakenly been exchanged, from her cradle, with another newborn (the son of a famous piano player), she decides to contact this family, not really thinking that this could be the truth. After she tells this to the presumed father and the rest of the family, even the son of the piano player starts having more than one doubt about his origins, and all this will lead to the discovery of a murder committed many years before by the second wife of the musician. The story is a pretext to dramatize the misdeeds and the hypocrisy of the French upper class members, shown without pity: the coldness between the family members, hidden by a false happiness; the lack of real feelings; the unbearable ‘bon ton’ of the mother, and so on. (IMDb) Continue reading
Expatriate Henry Miller indulges in a variety of sexual escapades while struggling to establish himself as a serious writer in Paris.
Making a rare visit to Canada, Claude Chabrol cowrote and directed the low-pressure psychological melodrama Blood Relatives (Les Liens de sang). Donald Sutherland and Donald Pleasence head the cast in this story of the aftermath of a brutal murder. The victim, a 17-year-old girl, was apparently raped before she died, leading Carella (Sutherland) to believe that she was killed by a sex maniac. Pedophile Doniac (Pleasence) tops the suspect list, but don’t be too sure. The truth is much “closer to home” than anyone realizes at first. Lisa Langlois, who made something of a career of Canadian scare flicks, makes her screen debut in Blood Relatives; also appearing, is Chabrol’s wife Stephane Audran. Blood Relatives was based on a novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), of 87th Precinct fame; the film was released in the US in 1981, three years after its completion.
Description: Six vignettes set in different sections of Paris, by six directors. St. Germain des Pres (Douchet), Gare du Nord (Rouch), Rue St. Denis (Pollet), and Montparnasse et Levallois (Godard) are stories of love, flirtation and prostitution; Place d’Etoile (Rohmer) concerns a haberdasher and his umbrella; and La Muette (Chabrol), a bourgeois family and earplugs. Continue reading
From Artificial Eye website:
Claude Chabrol’s taut thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as the villainous spider at the centre of an intricate and murderous web of deception. Huppert plays Mika, wife of celebrated pianist André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) and stepmother to his son, Guillaume, whose mother died in a car wreck on his sixth birthday.
Their lives are interrupted by the un-expected arrival of Jeanne (Anna Mouglalis), a young woman who has learned that she was almost switched at birth with Guillaume whilst in hospital. Also a pianist, Jeanne harbours a suspicion that she may be André’s daughter. André undertakes to continue her piano tuition, but, on entering the Polonski family, Jeanne begins to notice the icily controlled Mika behaving strangely. Her suspicions aroused, Jeanne begins the dangerous task of unravelling Mika’s dark past of secrets and lies. Continue reading
Albin Mercier, a French journalist, is sent to Bavaria to write an article about life in Germany. He is befriended by a bourgeois couple, the writer Andreas Hartman and his wife Hélène, who live near to him. The Hartmans appear to be perfectly happy together, and they seem to enjoy Mercier’s company. Mercier, however, begins to resent their happiness and resolves to take the place of Andreas. But just when he believes he has won Hélène for himself, he makes a terrible discovery. Hélène has a secret lover… Continue reading