Chabrol, Claude

Chabrol, Claude klōd shäbrōlˈ [key], 1930–2010, French filmmaker, b. Paris, attended Univ. of Paris. One of the creators of the French “new wave” cinema of the 1950s and 60s, he and such other future film greats as Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut wrote film criticism for the influential journal Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s. With Rohmer, he wrote a biography of Alfred Hitchcock (1957, tr. 1979). In 1958 he made his first film, Le Beau Serge, which he wrote, produced, and directed. Its dark themes of mystery, violence, and obsession became characteristic of many of his films and reflect Hitchcock's influence. This film and the subsequent Les Cousins (1959) are often cited as the first examples of France's new wave movement. In his films Chabrol also explored themes of class and sexuality, often satirizing France's bourgeois tradition, and he developed an elegantly cool and distant style leavened by a sly humor. Among the other works of his early and most successful period are Les Bonnes Femmes (1960), Les Biches (1968), La Femme Infidèle (1969), and This Man Must Die (1969). He was extremely prolific during the 1960s and 70s, filming two or three works most years. Later highlights of his more than 60 films include the Hitchcockian Le Boucher (1970), Wedding in Blood (1973), Blood Relations (1978), the highly acclaimed Story of Women (1988), Madame Bovary (1991), L'Enfer (1993), the extremely successful thriller La Cérémonie (1995), Merci pour le chocolat (2000), The Bridesmaid (2004), A Girl Cut in Two (2007), and the suspenseful Bellamy (2009), his last film. From 1964 to 1980 he was married to French actress Stéphane Audran (1932–2018), who starred in several of his his films, e.g., Les Biches, Le Boucher, and La Femme Infidèle, and in the works of such directors as Luis Buñuel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972) and Gabriel Axel (Babette's Feast, 1987).

See studies by R. Wood and M. Walker (1970) and G. Austin (1999).

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