Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village hasn't changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has ... See full summary »
Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend's party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping ... See full summary »
Single father obsessed with murdering the hit&run driver who killed his only child, poses as a screenwriter to get close to an actress who was in the death car. He feels fully prepared to ... See full summary »
Lucienne Delamare and Pierre Maury are having an affair. Lucienne's husband Paul is the mayor, and a French deputy. Pierre's wife Clotilde has been weak and sickly for years. Lucienne's ... See full summary »
Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games ... See full summary »
Charles is a young provincial coming up to Paris to study law. He shares his cousin Paul's flat. Paul is a kind of decadent boy, a disillusioned pleasure-seeker, always dragging along with ... See full summary »
André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, ... See full summary »
Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village hasn't changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has become a drunkard. Francois now tries to find out what happened to him and tries to help him. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In what is considered the first film of the French New Wave, Claude Chabrol gives us a hypnotic vision of opposites in the same style as Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. Le Beau Serge follows the story of Francois, a young man who returns to his home town after twelve years, who finds that the town is dying. His landlady even tells him that everyone will be gone soon enough. In particular, he finds that a once-promising childhood friend, Serge, is trapped as an alcoholic in a loveless marriage.
The brilliance of the film lies not in its storytelling (it is quite slow at parts) nor its acting (most of the actors were non-professionals) but in its structure. Everything is seen in doubles. Francois and Serge are two sides to the same coin. Each has an elder counterpart. Each has a female relation which seems to switch off at times. Serge has both a wife and a mistress who is at one point Francois girlfriend; at the same time, Serge's wife becomes morally attached to Francois. In addition, scenes are doubled; two scenes in the cemetary, two implied sexual scenes in Glomaud's home, two turns by Francois and Michel at the beginning, the list goes on and on. Furthermore, entire shots are doubled with different couples in each. It is brilliant.
In addition, the film looks as if it were unpolished (which is a basic tenet of the New Wave), but it looks as if it was a director's first attempt. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The greatest detraction (apart from the sometimes overacting) is the musical score. It is extremely discordant with regards to the movie. Minimal scenes such as Serge exiting his house are accompanies by percussion that sounds as if it were a harbinger of doom. I don't know if Chabrol wanted this, but it becomes irritating and causes the viewer to laugh at the film.
As an added note, watch for the parallels of Francois and Serge with the town's children. The kids pop up everywhere.
23 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?