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
By Roger Ebert / January 16, 1969
Claude Chabrol’s “Les Biches” depends almost entirely on style, and as style it succeeds. He is not so much interested in his story as in how to tell it. He favors muted colors, mostly pastels, and many of his scenes are shot in the light of late afternoon.
His characters fit these colors and moods; they seem in a trance sometimes, moving slowly, speaking absently. And his camera movement is meticulously planned. We notice scenes where the camera and the actors move together in a sort of minuet. Three or four shots, using steps we don’t see or mirrors we don’t expect, have the grace of dance.
Chabrol is often considered the father of the French New Wave. He is known over here for “Les Cousins” (1959), “Les Bonnes Femmes” (1960) and last year’s “The Champagne Murders.” Unlike his colleagues in the New Wave (Godard, Truffaut, Resnais) he has steered away from politics and into a very smooth, almost ethereal directing style. “Les Biches,” a success at the 1968 New York Film Festival, ranks with his best work. Continue reading
An unlikely friendship between a dour, working class butcher and a repressed schoolteacher coincides with a grisly series of Ripper-type murders in a provincial French town. (IMDb) Continue reading
This miniseries based on the Fantomas novels of Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, takes the Fantomas character back to his sinister roots. After the comedic Andre Hunabelle films of the 60s, filmmakers Claude Charbrol and Juan Bunuel went back to the original books for their inspiration. The results are magnificent. The series is a reinvestigation of the pulp roots of the character, while infusing the surreal, dreamlike qualities that the original texts inspired in the works of Juan Gris, Rene Magritte and Luis Bunuel (who is referenced, along with Apollinaire, in the first episode.) Continue reading