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 »
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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 »
Bored with her husband, bored with her polo-playing lover, will the middle-aged heroine go away with the young man who gave her a lift that day when her car broke down on the way back to ... 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 »
The upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie to work in the family manor in the French countryside. Her husband Georges Lelievre, who is... See full summary »
Charles Desvallées has good reasons to believe that his wife is cheating on him and hires a P.D. in order to prove himself right. Once he knows the lover is writer Victor Pégala, he drives ... See full summary »
Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... 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 »
Helene Regnier's husband Charles, who is mentally ill, injures their son Michel in a rage. Charles moves back in with his wealthy and manipulative parents, who blame Helene for their son's ... 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 other idles, while Charles is a plodding, naive and honest man. He fell in love with Florence, one of Paul's acquaintances. But how will Paul react to that attempt to build a real love relationship ? One of the major New Wave films. Written by
This is more akin to the recognizable style of the "Nouvelle Vague" (with one of the characteristics being an unduly harsh quality to the cinematography, typically a prerogative of the film noir genre) than Chabrol's previous (and first) film, HANDSOME SERGE (1958).
Interestingly, while it features the same two leads Gerard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy their roles are practically reversed (with the former now ingenuous and the latter world-weary), and set this time around in Paris rather than the provinces. Incidentally, the film forms a trilogy of sorts with Chabrol's other tales of amoral youth, all stemming from the vitriolic pen of the ill-fated Paul Gegauff i.e. LES BONNES FEMMES (1960) and WISE GUYS (1961).
Unfortunately, I did not watch this in the most congenial atmosphere being a recording off French TV with subtitles in that language (it is odd that such an essential piece in both the director's canon and the influential "New Wave" filmography seems to be otherwise unavailable!). Anyway, having sensed a nod to Fellini in Chabrol's THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS (1967), I can see definite links with this earlier effort (especially Brialy interrupting a wild party at his flat with a candle-lit recital of an epic German poem) and which actually predates a similar occurrence in LA DOLCE VITA (1960) itself!
The film is also notable for being Stephane Audran's first collaboration (out of a total of 23!) with Chabrol; though her role is secondary, and a sluttish one at that, the actress with hair dyed blonde manages to make an impression nevertheless (she obviously did on her director, since they would eventually be married until 1980). Actually, the leading lady here is doe-eyed Juliette Mayniel (soon to play an unwilling donor in Georges Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE  ironically, one of several distinguished native directors dismissed as archaic by Godard et al), not an actress usually attached to the "New Wave" movement but who acquits herself exceedingly well under the circumstances.
Other characters within the narrative include yet another ambiguous and, in this case, much older live-in figure (who also acts as a bad influence on the heroine) and a librarian harboring almost paternal feelings for Blain. The film's abrupt tragic ending, casually treated by the director and deemed pointless by some, would seem to be suggesting that the bustle of city life spells the death of innocence (especially for someone not attuned to its grinding pace).
P.S. With this, I concluded my nearly two-month tribute to the octogenarian French master that included 27 films (all of them being first viewings!) and I regret not having had more time to revisit some of his other work particularly A' DOUBLE TOUR (1959), LES BONNES FEMMES, TEN DAYS WONDER (1971) and INNOCENTS WITH DIRTY HANDS (1975)! For the record, I intend to pursue a similar retrospective for Jean-Luc Godard, who will himself turn 80 next December
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