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 […]

A DOUBLE TOUR (Claude Chabrol, 1959)

From his and Paul Gégauff’s cunning script, Claude Chabrol directed this semi-delirious adaptation of Stanley Ellin’s mystery novel The Key to Nicholas Street. It opens with a bravura pan of artist Leda Mortoni’s cottage in Aix-en-Provence; highlighted by Leda’s absence, the passage projects the stillness of death. Seemingly confounding this, the film plunges into sexy […]

A GIRL CUT IN TWO (Claude Chabrol, 2007)

Working from his and Cécile Maistre’s fine, twisting, elusive script, Claude Chabrol made one of his most teasingly ambiguous films: La fille coupée en deux, both a heartrending feminist fable and quite cruel black comedy that concludes with a sardonic, agonizing dash of Max Ophuls’s Lola Mont ès (1955): the fated stage-bound finish that echoes […]