Sunday, 10 October 2010


The recent death of Claude Chabrol has reawakened my interest in this director. I've been a fan for many years but his death made me realise that recently I've somewhat taken his talent for granted. Often it is useful to go back and reassess films that we saw many years ago. We, hopefully, mature, understand the language of films a little better, have different values and a better appreciation of the subtleties of human behaviour which enable us to see things in films that we missed on a first viewing. A recent re-viewing of Chabrol's LE BOUCHER on television made me feel it was a greater film than I had originally thought. I was surprised to see how much of Chabrol's ouvre is now available on DVD (although sadly there is no sign of his "Tiger" euro-spy films - reportedly not good but high on my list of films I want to see) and I've recently gone through Lovefilm's catalogue clicking the "rent" button on a host of Chabrol titles. First to arrive is MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT and it is a perfect example of Chabrol's talent. It is a deceptively simple film, so deceptive that as it ended I was quite taken back - thinking that I'd missed something. I went back to the beginning and watched it again and it all fell into place and Chabrol's seemingly abrupt ending made perfect sense. The making of documentary included as an extra is particularly revealing (confirming my own interpretations) and providing a very welcome chance to watch Chabrol at work and talking about the film. Chabrol describes the film as a detective story but at first it seems we have no detective. Of course we, the audience are the detective, provided with clues to a crime we don't know about and another that has not yet happened. We have a suspect whose guilt is revealed to us simply be her behaviour rather than seeing any crime commited. Wonderfully subtle performance by Isabel Huppert who like Stephane Audran before her seems perfectly in tune with the director. Look out for the cushion cover. Rating ****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

Sounds wonderful to me!