Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Claude Chabrol Blogathon

An embarrassment of riches! After a while with no blogathons to play with, I have 2 in a row. The Claude Chabrol blogathon is in honor of the director's 6/24 birthday and is hosted by Flickhead, where it looks like there'll be a lot for me to read. I know nothing about this director and have never seen any of his movies.

When I watch his movies, I'll link to the blog posts here:

Les Biches (1968)
Nada (1974)
Madame Bovary (1991)

Film Studies for Free offers links to resources for the blogathon. Senses of Cinema says his "name is famously associated with the path-breaking criticism of Cahiers du Cinéma and the rise of the French New Wave," calls him "a craftsman productively immersed in the conventions and compromises of mainstream filmmaking" and describes him as "Highly regarded as one of French cinema's elders". Images Journal closes their consideration of his work with this:
He is undeniably a filmmaker of some significance, as much an antidote, then, as a slavish follower of Hollywood models of film narration.

FilmReference.com begins by pointing out the balance in Chabrol's work:
Chabrol's work can perhaps best be seen as a cross between the unassuming and popular genre film and the pretentious and elitist art film: Chabrol's films tend to be thrillers with an incredibly self-conscious, self-assured style—that is, pretentious melodrama, aware of its importance. For some, however, the hybrid character of Chabrol's work is itself a problem: indeed, just as elitist critics sometimes find Chabrol's subject matter beneath them, so too do popular audiences sometimes find Chabrol's style and incredibly slow pace alienating.

The Guardian calls him "forever young and impish, dependably macabre" and closes with this:
If you crave crisp, elegant, precise and disturbing film-making, and you've never seen a Chabrol film, start with The Girl Cut in Two, then settle back for 50 years' worth of movies just like it. There's a mother lode of sick pleasure to be had here.

The New York Times describes him as
a filmmaker who can thrill without thrilling, who can solve a murder mystery without implying that he’s solved the mystery of life and who can, at his best, use the predictable to illuminate the unpredictable.

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