Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Claude Chabrol 1930 – 2010

With the death of Claude Chabrol, the thrilling conflagration that was the French New Wave seems even more distant. On paper Chabrol looks like an archetypal member of the movement. Like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, he was a critic …

Sun, Sep 12, 2010, 13:02

   

With the death of Claude Chabrol, the thrilling conflagration that was the French New Wave seems even more distant. On paper Chabrol looks like an archetypal member of the movement. Like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, he was a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma before moving into direction in the late 1950s. Then again, Chabrol’s movies seemed to spring from a different branch of the cinematic tree to those of his more experimental, less formally minded colleagues. Indeed, you could (just about) imagine pictures such as Le Boucher or Les Biches emerging in an alternative universe where the New Wave never happened.

At any rate, over 50 years, Chabrol — the most Hitchcockian of that generation — continued to deliver an uninterrupted flow of twisty dramas and unsettling thrillers. We still have Godard and Jacques Rivette, but the angry Cahiers mob is rapidly thinning. Shame.