LINE OF DEMARCATION (Claude Chabrol, 1966)

The Germans have already invaded France. In the winter of 1941, in a village in the Jura Mountains, the Loue River divides Free France and Occupied France. The bleak grayness of Jean Rabier’s immaculate black-and-white cinematography in writer-director Claude Chabrol’s La ligne de démarcation expresses the sadness of the French people, and the defeatism of […]

ALICE, OR THE LAST ESCAPADE (Claude Chabrol, 1976)

“It’s useless to ask questions, for there are no answers.”  “You cannot escape your fate.”   Dedicated to Fritz Lang, who had died earlier that year, writer-director Claude Chabrol’s Alice ou la dernière fugue certainly expresses Lang’s fatalistic view of life. It is one of the most chilling and nightmarish films I have seen—and one […]

UNE VIE (Alexandre Astruc, 1958)

I haven’t read Maupassant’s Une vie, but Alexandre Astruc’s film adaptation of it, provocatively retitled End of Desire in the U.S., is an exquisite though exceedingly strange fusion of Brontë (either Emily or Charlotte) and the gathering nouvelle vague in French cinema. Perhaps “fusion” is the wrong word, for the Gothic and contemporary (that is, […]