Nelida Nassar 01.26.2013
Claude Chabrol film festival opens this evening at Metropolis Theatre with the projection of Le Boucher (1969). The film is a modest, ambivalent picture, the story of a serial killer who is provoked or prompted by the icy assurance of the local schoolteacher, someone he loves but cannot properly approach. Like any student of Hitchcock, Chabrol was intrigued by the wealth of reasons for and the emotional neediness in murder. He liked genre films – thrillers, dark comedies, murder stories – and he liked actresses. His second wife was the flawless Stéphane Audran, who plays the teacher in Le Boucher.
No one of the French new wave generation made more films than Chabrol, or so many that were sardonic at best, routine at worst. He often resembled a genre director of the 30s and 40s, doing one thing after another as assignments, without too much introspection. Perhaps it was a matter of personality, and of a dark vision that turned to cynicism. But then, if you wanted to see Les Bonnes Femmes, Le Boucher and Violette Nozière on successive nights I think you’d feel certain that he was an authentic pessimist, a fatalist, someone afraid to feel too much for anyone. That’s when you find yourself wondering how much of himself Chabrol had seen in Hitchcock. Indeed, Chabrol never asserted himself but left a body of work that outlasts more ambitious directors. Join in this week long tribute.