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Le Beau Serge (1958)

Le beau Serge (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | January 1959 (USA)
After long absence, a man returns to his hometown only to find his best friend has become an alcoholic.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writer:

Claude Chabrol
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gérard Blain ... Serge
Jean-Claude Brialy ... François Baillou
Michèle Méritz ... Yvonne
Bernadette Lafont ... Marie
Claude Cerval Claude Cerval ... The priest
Jeanne Pérez Jeanne Pérez ... Madame Chaunier
Edmond Beauchamp Edmond Beauchamp ... Glomaud
André Dino André Dino ... Michel, the doctor
Michel Creuze Michel Creuze ... The baker
Claude Chabrol ... La Truffe
Philippe de Broca ... Jacques Rivette de la Chasuble
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Storyline

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 <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

January 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Beau Serge See more »

Filming Locations:

Sardent, Creuse, France

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 37,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first feature film to be directed by Claude Chabrol, who made it in the village which was his birthplace, using local people in small parts. Part of the financing for the film came from an inheritance of his first wife's; later, after a divorce, Chabrol would sometimes jokingly claim that he had married her primarily to use her money for the film. See more »

Quotes

François Baillou: What can I say? Things just don't turn out as you expect.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinéma! Cinéma! The French New Wave (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
HANDSOME SERGE (Claude Chabrol, 1958) ***
3 July 2010 | by MARIO GAUCISee all my reviews

The film that officially kick-started the "Nouvelle Vague" (interestingly, Chabrol was the only one in that talented crowd to have debuted with a full-length feature and self-financed to boot!) is, surprisingly, an "Angry Young Man"-type drama in a pastoral setting. The radical technique associated with this school of film-making is not really in evidence in this case, but nor is it needed – given that what we have here is essentially a character-driven piece.

In this respect, apart from the director himself (who also wrote the film on his own), the film brought in an array of fresh talent in front of the cameras as well – namely Gerard Blain (evoking Montgomery Clift in particular), Jean-Claude Brialy (restrained in comparison to his other work for Chabrol that I have watched) and the waif-like Bernadette Lafont (already effortlessly exuding carnality in her second film – and the first of 7 with this director – she was also married to her co-star Blain at the time).

Chabrol's realistic depiction of provincial France here, authentic both in the everyday detail of the locale and its characters' foibles (Blain is a hopeless drunk, Lafont is raped by her 'father', etc.), actually makes the much-later THE HORSE OF PRIDE (1980) not the odd-film-out it had at first appeared! One other atypical element is that of spirituality – especially when, towards the end, Brialy determines (albeit predictably) to reform Blain almost at the cost of his own life during one particularly blizzard-ridden night in which his friend is supposed to become a father!

By the way, Chabrol gives himself a cameo in the film: with him appears assistant director Philippe de Broca (whose character is named Jacques Rivette, after another "New Wave" exponent, obviously!); unfortunately, the subtitles – in a small white font – were especially hard to read during this scene.


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