Chabrol, Claude

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Chabrol, Claude

Claude Chabrol (klōd shäbrōl´), 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 the influence of Alfred Hitchcock. 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). Extremely prolific, during the 1960s and 70s he averaged two or three works a year. 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.

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

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