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Claude Chabrol Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 24 June 1930Paris, France
Date of Death 12 September 2010Paris, France
Nicknames The Balzac of Cinema
The French Hitchcock
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

French film director considered a master in the mystery genre. He is credited with starting the "nouvelle vague" French film movement.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Spouse (3)

Aurore Chabrol (1981 - 12 September 2010) (his death) (1 child)
Stéphane Audran (1964 - 1980) (divorced) (1 child)
Agnès Goute (26 June 1952 - 1964) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (4)

His movies were often strong attacks of the French bourgeoisie
Often paid homage to Alfred Hitchcock
Often cast frosty leading ladies in the Hitchcock tradition
Often used the names Hélène, Charles and Paul Thomas

Trivia (23)

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 194-199. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Between 1978 and 1980 made commercials for Mamie Nova, R5, Gueule d'Amour and Franco Russe.
Was a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma in the 50s.
Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 2000.
He studied pharmacology at the University of Paris, before going into film-making.
His murder mysteries often reflected the influence of Alfred Hitchcock, on whom he co-authored (with Eric Rohmer) a critical analysis. Many of his other films were preoccupied with the follies of the bourgeoisie.
After completing his military service, he got his first job in the film industry in the Paris department of 20th Century Fox.
Simenon and Balzac were his main literary sources of inspiration.
He often cast in his movies: Henri Attal (29 times), Dominique Zardi (26 times), Stéphane Audran (24 times), Thomas Chabrol (13 times), Bernadette Lafont (7 times), Michel Bouquet (7 times), Isabelle Huppert (7 times), Michel Duchaussoy (6 times), Jean-Claude Brialy (5 times), Jean-Pierre Cassel (5 times), François Cluzet (5 times), Juliette Mayniel (4 times), Jean Yanne (4 times), Maurice Ronet (4 times), Jean Carmet (4 times), Roger Hanin (3 times), Benoît Magimel (3 times), Noël Simsolo (3 times). He directed several of these actors in some TV productions as well.
Fritz Lang was one of his main influences.
In 2009, he stated that the three worst movies ever made are: Fanny (1961), Le jour et la nuit (1997) and his own film, The Twist (1976).
The Good Time Girls (1960), now regarded as one of his masterworks, was a critical and commercial failure when it was originally released. In her autobiography "Le Roman de ma vie", Bernadette Lafont remembers that, at one point during the movie premiere, a viewer furiously screamed that he wanted back the 5 francs he had paid for the ticket. Chabrol, who was sitting before him, turned around and gave them to him. Also, at the end of the screening, another spectator tried to get in a fist fight with the director. The two men were separated.
He was a great gourmet. While his wife Stéphane Audran was shooting The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), he used to prepare some delicious dishes that she would share with members of the cast and crew.
His relationship with Stéphane Audran ended when he fell in love with his frequent collaborator Aurore Chabrol (nee Aurore Pajot). He always liked to claim that it was Stéphane to throw him into Aurore's arms as, during the shooting of Ten Days Wonder (1971), she couldn't attend his birthday dinner and jokingly suggested that he should jump on the script-girl instead. The script-girl was Aurore and the friendship between her and Claude developed into a love affection. Audran always claimed that the story isn't true.
He's well-known for the very inconsistent quality of his resume, being credited with having directed some of the best movies of French cinema along with some of the worst. His frequent collaborator, writer Paul Gégauff, claims that Chabrol didn't even bother to supervise the editing of the completed movies he hadn't cared for in the first place and that he used to immediately move on to something else. Having directed some infamous titles actually became a source of pride for Chabrol, although in the documentary Grand manège: Qu'est-ce qui fait tourner Claude Chabrol? (2006), he stated that, at one point in his life, he became more careful and concerned about the quality of his projects and that he regards Death Rite (1976) and The Twist (1976) as the last movies he did that qualify as very bad.
He was famous for his drunk antics on movie sets. Stéphane Audran remembers that, one day during the shooting of Le Boucher (1970), he drank so much wine that he had to be brought away with a cart.
James Gray is a great fan of Chabrol, having intended his noir The Yards (2000) as a homage to those of the great French director. The film eventually caused Chabrol's wrath when he saw it at the Cannes film festival.
He once stated that the bus scene in The Breach (1970) where Hélène (his wife Stéphane Audran) tells her family's story to her lawyer was the occasion when he finally thought that Stéphane had become an actress.
He never told which ones of his own movies were his personal favourites, comparing this kind of choice to that of a parent asked to pick a favourite son.
He cast Micheline Presle in The Blood of Others (1984), one of the many projects he had accepted against the grain and chosen to handle in the most superficial way as possible. When Micheline asked him if he had any ideas about how she should have played her character, he replied that he didn't. The actress eventually played the role to good reviews, leading the director to tell her with self-irony that she had been much more praised than the film itself.
During the shooting of Bluebeard (1963), producer Carlo Ponti was so appalled by Stéphane Audran's performance that he asked 'who's that slut who's playing Fernande?' Chabrol (who was already engaged to Audran) slapped Ponti in the face and screamed 'that's my wife!' The director and the actress married one year later.
His film Line of Demarcation (1966) was originally intended for Anthony Mann to direct, but the latter declined the offer and recommended Chabrol instead. Chabrol took the job against the grain and once claimed that he had been drunk during most of the shooting.

Personal Quotes (6)

"I am a Communist, certainly, but that doesn't mean I have to make films about the wheat harvest." (1971 interview with Roger Ebert)
Nous vivons une époque où les pizzas arrivent plus vite que la police.
  • We live in an era where pizzas show up faster than the police.



There is no new wave, only the sea.
[on his movie Ophélia (1963)] I saw it recently and it was still execrable.
[on divorcing Stéphane Audran] I found myself becoming more interested in her as an actress than a wife.
I have always been fascinated by smiling killers.

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