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September 12, 2010


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Keith Uhlich

He's one I have much more to study of. I was quite taken with his "Bluebeard," aka "Landru."


I think he was born in 1930, not 1920.

Glenn Kenny

Corrections made. Thanks James, and thanks also to Catherine Grant, who on Facebook pointed out that that's NOT B. Lafont in "Femmes."

Does "I was half-asleep" cut it as an excuse in the blogosphere? Well, anyway...

Paul Johnson

A director whose vast, erratic catalog makes him a frustrating figure, but thanks to the gorgeous,horrifying, and deeply elegiac LE BOUCHER, someone whose work demands attention. The consensus seems to be that his best work came in spurts (as Richard Hell would say), with 58-62, 68-72, & 95-99 being the prime areas worth investigating (and certainly the Chabrol films which have impressed me the most - LES COUSINS, LES BONNES FEMMES, LE BOUCHER, & LE CEREMONIE - have all come from those eras). Aside from the aforementioned THE CRY OF THE OWL, is there more work from one his reputedly fallow periods worthy of note? I've always been especially curious about his glossy mid-60s thrillers like THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS and THE ROAD TO CORINTHE.

The Siren

I came to Chabrol very late, but have never seen one that didn't offer me something worthwhile, and many of them were great indeed. Such a loss; I was hoping for movies into his 90s.


Damn. I'm also pretty new to Chabrol, but I haven't seen a bad one yet, so the idea that his career was so full of whiplash-inducing highs and lows is a bit surprising to me. Whatever the case, Chabrol has been fast becoming one of my favorite filmmakers. Most recently I saw PLEASURE PARTY, which is about is unnerving a film as you'll ever see, and as quietly clinical a charting of the degression into a murderous state of mind as I've ever encountered.

LA CEREMONIE is brilliant, too. He and Ruth Rendell were made for each other. They shared a very cold eye for human disaster.

Evelyn Roak

RIP. A director who even in his lesser films maintained a sly intelligence and a real quality of craft. Of course there are the out and out classics mentioned here but even the films flying under the radar always have something to offer. His later work maintained a very high level. I quite liked the recent MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLATE. A lesser known film of his I'm quite fond of is NADA with the great Maurice Garrel, Chabrol's "post '68" entry.

Also, Chabrol's many films with Isabelle Huppert brought some of her finest performances to the screen.

And then there were two...

Stephen Bowie

Aw, no. Not Chabrol. This is what I get for sleeping late. And still no cause of death?


I'm not so sure Chabrol had become one of the forgotten figures of the French New Wave. Especially when you consider the fact that he was one of only five primary filmmakers in the movement along with Truffaut, Godard, Rivette and Rohmer. While Resnais, Marker, Demy and Varda were more secondary figures in the sense that they were not the 'bread and butter' of the movement. I'd say none of the primary filmmakers are forgotten. While among the secondary figures I would say Demy is somewhat forgotten.


Am gratified that everyone else feels, as I do, that they're way behind on Chabrol's output. The films that have stuck with me most have not been his prickly anti-bourgeousie provocations. THE NADA GANG runs a remarkable cast, playing dilettante terrorists, through a discomfiting series of brutal outcomes-- a raging political film that sees oppression on all sides. And the Huppert film about an abortionist during the Occupation-- was the English title STORY OF A WOMAN?-- is a film in which the director's refusal to fudge the sides in her conflict with an obscene government makes the absence of easy judgment feel like rigor.


I watched for the first time recently HENRI LANGLOIS: THE PHANTOM OF THE CINEMATHEQUE, and Chabrol was one of the interviewees. Not only was he a great storyteller, but he seemed to genuinely enjoy life.

And I also need to see more of his movies. Currently, my two favorites of what I've seen are LA FEMME INFIDELE and L'ENFER (though I still wish Clouzot had been able to finish the latter). Had some problems with THIS MAN MUST DIE, though I probably need to see it again.


Terrific screenshots.


Speaking of how Chabrol engaged with his material, I read a Cahiers interview with him last year - linked to the release of the second of the Inspector Lavardin movies - in which he spoke about finding a technical challenge in some of his films as a means of keeping the work interesting; in Poulet au vinaigre he has only a single shot/reverse shot and he decided not to have a single shot at exact eye level in Inspecteur Lavardin, a decision that relates directly to the plot of the film. The two Lavardin telefilms aren't as consistently interesting, although I love the way he films several sequences from strange overhead angles. I'd be curious to know if he set similar challenges on other films.

Jeff McMahon

As someone who's only seen a handful of Chabrol films (Le Boucher, The Swindle, Girl Cut in Two) I'd be interested in hearing where I should go from here in his filmography - it sounds like La Ceremonie, Les Biches, and Cry of the Owl are consensus favorites - any others? Any I should avoid until I've built a familiarity with his body of work?


Jeff, I feel like the most essential ones to get to first are his 1968-1971 period, of which Le Boucher and Les Biches are part of. The others are Une Femme Infidele, La Rupture, The Beast Must Die, and Just Before the Night. I'd also throw Les Noces Rouges from 1973 in there as well.

After that, La Ceremonie is definitely a must-see (though I personally have problems with it), as is the early-period Les Bonnes Femmes.


Jeff, as my other favorites (LA CEREMONIE, LES BICHES) have been mentioned, I'll just reiterate my love for PLEASURE PARTY. For all I know, some people might not consider it a good place to start, but I've only seen six of his films myself, with PLEASURE PARTY being the sixth, so I'm guessing it doesn't matter so much.

But PLEASURE PARTY seems to be a bit of a sleeper. Not a lot of people have brought it up in write-ups or comments on Chabrol's passing, but I thought it was fantastic, and fantastically disturbing.

Jeff McM


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Hauser Tann

From a news report on today's ceremony in honor of Claude Chabrol, this anecdote from (Cinémathèque director) Serge Toubiana:

"Serge Toubiana a raconté que, prié de dire s'il était « un grand cinéaste », Claude Chabrol avait répondu « qu'il était un cinéaste de 1 m 74, et même 1 m 73, parce qu'avec le temps, on se tasse »."


"Serge Toubiana related how Chabrol, asked once if he was a 'great filmmaker', had answered that he was 'a filmmaker of a height of 1 m 74—1 m 73, even, as with the passage of time, one shrinks down'."


I want my money back you A hole the American was the worst movie I have ever seen, and I would of asked for my money back from right then and there but I was to pissed off

Glenn Kenny

Hey "ron," learn to read, maybe. In my review at MSN Movies, I wrote exactly this: "audiences expecting a straight-ahead action-packed thriller are going to find this a perhaps bitterly disappointing experience." My conscience is clear, and your punctuation sucks. Now go home and get your shinebox.


Glenn, you shouldn't of said that.

Glenn Kenny

Your right.

Kent Jones

I've always found right then more reliable than there but when I asked them for my money back I got to pissed off to so I would of stopped and I want hopefully more movies being better to of seen than the American was


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