For five decades Claude Chabrol navigated the unpredictable waters of Cinema, leaving in his wake more than fifty feature films that remain among the most quietly devastating genre movies ever made. Sardonic, provocative, unsettling, Chabrol’s films cut to the quick with a clarity and honesty honed to razor sharpness.
The Swindle (Rien Ne Va Plus) sees Chabrol at perhaps his most playful as a pair of scam artists, Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault, get in over their heads. But who is scamming who and who do you trust in a life built on so many lies? The murder of a 10 year old girl sparks rumours and gossip in The Color of Lies (Au Coeur Du Mensonge), as suspicion falls on René (Jacques Gamblin) the dour once famous painter, now art teacher, who was the last person to see her alive. Enigmatic, perverse, seductive, Isabelle Huppert encapsulates everything that makes Nightcap (Merci Pour Le Chocolat) a film John Waters calls “Cinematic Perfection” in this tale of suppressed family secrets. Finally, in The Flower of Evil (La Fleur Du Mal), incest, old money and intergenerational guilt come under the scalpel as an outwardly perfect bourgeois family begins to unravel when the wife involves herself in politics.
Though influenced by Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir, Chabrol’s voice was entirely and assuredly his own, influencing in turn filmmakers like Bong Joon-ho, James Gray and Dominik Moll. His amused, unblinkered view of life and refusal to judge his characters makes his films timelessly relevant and accessible to all.