Claude Chabrol

"Although occasionally controversial - Une affair des femmes' account of Vichy politics sparked public protests in 1988 - Chabrol's work has seldom generated the cinephiliac excitement attending Godard, or the devoted crowd for Truffaut. But the best Chabrols rank alongside vintage Hitchcock and Lang." - Richard Armstrong (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)

Claude Chabrol

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1930-2010) Born June 24, Paris, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, Italy, Germany
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Crime Drama, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Mystery, Marriage Drama, Satire, Paranoid Thriller, Police Detective Film, Crime Thriller
Key Collaborators: Jean Rabier (Cinematographer), Jacques Gaillard (Editor), Pierre Jansen (Composer), Monique Fardoulis (Editor), Stephane Audran (Leading Actress), Matthieu Chabrol (Composer), André Génovès (Producer), Paul Gégauff (Screenwriter), Guy Littaye (Production Designer), Marin Karmitz (Producer), Francoise Benoit-Fresco (Production Designer), Thomas Chabrol (Character Actor)

"His admiration for Hitchcock turned him toward moody psychodramas, often with touches of grotesque humor (Les Bonnes femmes, Ophélia). Chabrol churned out lurid espionage pictures before embarking on a series of psychological thrillers: La Femme infidele (1969), This Man Must Die (1969), Le Boucher (1970), and others. Like Hitchcock, Chabrol traces how the tensions of middle-class life explode into madness and violence. By 2001, Chabrol had made over fifty features and several television episodes, remaining the most commercially flexible and pragmatic of the directors to emerge from Cahiers." - Kristin Thompson & David Bordwell (Film History: An Introduction, 2009)
"If Jean-Luc Godard appeals to critics because of his extreme interest in politics and film theory and if François Truffaut appeals to the popular audience because of his humanism and sentimentality, it is Claude Chabrol - film critic, filmmaker, philosopher - whose work consistently offers the opportunity for the most balanced appeal... Chabrol's work can perhaps best be seen as a cross between the unassuming and popular genre film and the pretentious elitist art film." - Charles Derry (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Chabrol, whose admiration for the Hitchcock thriller style is evident in some of his own films (The Champagne Murders, This Man Must Die, Cop au Vin), is more typically concerned with exploring, in a curiously detached way, personal relationships (Les Cousins, Les Biches). His favorite target remains the urban French petite-bourgeoisie, the milieu of his youth." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"While Claude Chabrol is certainly one of the most important filmmakers to have emerged from the the French New Wave, his consistency of theme and assured, expressive style are often betrayed by poor material, resulting in a career as uneven as it is prolific... A consummate craftsman, his interest in human emotions often seems intellectually motivated, which may explain the erratic nature of his work." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"Sometimes dubbed "The French Hitchcock", Claude Chabrol made his name as a director of mystery and crime thrillers that were really studies in character psychology as well as explorations of the social and class backgrounds of his protagonists. For Chabrol, brutality could erupt at any time within the most banal and everyday of settings, and his films frequently take a jaundiced, but keenly political, look at society. His movies are characterised by sudden, abrupt shifts in tone, and are permeated by a restless, menacing sense that the norms and laws of civility can break down without warning." - Matt Hills (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"Emotional relationships marked by physical and psychological violence distinguish Chabrol's films." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I like making black and white films in natural surroundings, but I much prefer shooting a color film inside a studio where the colors are easier to control." - Claude Chabrol
"It's often wrong to write for specific actors because one ends up using what is least interesting about them, their mannerisms and habits. I prefer not to write for specific people." - Claude Chabrol
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Third Lover (1962), La Femme infidèle (1969), This Man Must Die (1969), Le Boucher (1970) , L'Enfer (1993)
Recommended
Le Beau Serge (1958), A double tour (1959), Les Bonnes femmes (1960), Les Biches (1968), Just Before Nightfall (1971), Wedding in Blood (1973), Pleasure Party (1975), La Ceremonie (1995), Merci pour le chocolat (2000), A Comedy of Power (2005)
Worth a Look
Les Cousins (1959), Wise Guys (1961), Paris vu par… (1965) [also directed by Jean Douchet, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Daniel Pollet, Eric Rohmer & Jean Rouch], La Rupture (1970), Ten Days' Wonder (1972), Innocents with Dirty Hands (1975), Cop au Vin (1984), Story of Women (1988), Rien ne va plus (1997), The Flower of Evil (2002), The Bridesmaid (2004), A Girl Cut in Two (2006)
Approach with Caution
The Road to Corinth (1967), Blood Relatives (1978), The Cry of the Owl (1987), The Colour of Lies (1998)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Le Beau Serge
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