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
During World War II, in occupied France, a woman of limited schooling raises two children in a ratty flat. She is Marie Latour. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from the front, too weak to hold a job. Marie discovers she can make money performing abortions, using a soapy water douche. Many of her clients are knocked up by occupying Germans. She buys better food and clothes, looks for a new flat, and, through an acquaintance who is a prostitute, rents out her bedrooms to hookers during the day. She’s indifferent to Paul; his humiliations grow as does her income. She hopes to be a singer. Male Vichy umbrage and moral hypocrisy may upend her. What is she thinking? (IMDb) Continue reading
Adapted from a novel by Georges Simenon, Betty stars Marie Trintignant in the title role. A drunken wastrel, Betty is adopted after a fashion by an older female alcoholic named Laure, played by director Claude Chabrol’s wife at the time, Stéphane Audran. Fascinated by Betty’s hard-luck tales, Laure endeavors to protect the younger woman from the ravages of a cruel world. Unfortunately, she turns a blind eye to Betty’s larcenous streak, which manifests itself at the worst possible moments. This tale of a irredeemable ne’er-do-well is fleshed out by a flashback-flashforward technique that some observers found confusing and distracting. Continue reading