237 Great Directors: Claude Chabrol

“I am a Communist, certainly, but that doesn’t mean I have to make films about the wheat harvest.”

What Got This Director Here?
: He doesn’t have a single film in the Top 1000, but always gets respect.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A

What Did I Watch: His debut, Le Beau Serge.

Where Does He Fit: Le Beau Serge’s cynicism towards the nature of small towns half feels warranted and half does not. The capturing of the ennui of the people and their lives is very good, with all the uber-realist documentary style stuff that Chabrol wound up cutting being the right decision, as there’s plenty of that just in how a character pours a drink for themselves. Serge himself, however, is a bit much. I have never seen Gerard Blain in anything prior to this, but surely this can’t be his finest hour, right? I am not sure if dropping that performance for a better one helps the film out tremendously, but it could have been made a little better by that. Chabrol’s eye for photography is pretty unbeatable, though. He reportedly liked to work in black and white for natural settings and color for studios, and it pays off beautifully here.


Most Valuable Asset: Societal mockery.
Most Excited For: La Ceremonie.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: He had a long career, I’m sure I’ll find something a little more consistent. This has some genuinely inspired bits and it’s a debut, so at least he’s rightfully above Nolan.

Coming Up Next: American comedian John Landis.


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