Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Claude Chabrol Collection (part 2)

Finally I had time to watch the other 4 movies from the Claude Chabrol Box Set.

5. Que la bête meure (1969)

This movie is very gripping and from all 8, I like this one the most. Michel Duchaussoy plays a father who lost his son in a hit-and-run accident. The police try to find the culprit without result, but being a father, he has the patience needed to find clues. With a strike of luck, he finally finds the one who is responsible. He wants to revenge his son and makes a plot to kill the culprit. Meanwhile he finds that his son's murderer is despised by anyone, makes it easier to go on with his plan. The title "The Beast Must Die" is taken from Ecclesiastes 3:19 "The beast must die, the man dieth also, yea both must die." And as it is also written: "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. " (Romans 12:19), although the father in the end can revenge his son, he is also perished. However, what we have here in the movie is a father who cannot live if he doesn't avenge his son.

6. La femme infidèle (1969)

Probably bored with his husband's fatness, Hélène (Stéphane Audran) begins her affair. Charles (Michel Bouquet), her husband, starts to be suspicious because every time he calls his wife, she is often unavailable. Charles hires a detective to follow Hélène and finds proofs of her infidelity. He pays a visit to her lover (Maurice Ronet), and after a strange scene where the two talk politely like friends, Charles kills him. It seems poor Maurice Ronet is a preferable choice to play a murder victim. (This is the 4th movie where I see him killed, after Plein soleil, La piscine, and Mort d'un pourri.) The police investigating the case is a hilarious pair, more like  siamese twins with different faces. Officer Duval says all the words, while officer Gobet observes. Throughout the movie, Gobet only says "Madame" and "Monsieur", 2 words.  While getting rid of the body of Hélène's lover, Charles drives by this store (I think) which has an announcement outside (see picture on the left), which gives a nod to Chabrol's Les biches.

7. Juste avant la nuit (1971)
Michel Bouquet and Stéphane Audran again play a couple, with the same first names as in La femme infidèle. Charles Masson and his wife Hélène build a perfect family, but Charles has an affair with his friend François (François Périer)'s wife, Laura. Charles accidentally strangles Laura and although the police cannot find any proof about the culprit, Charles's guilt accuses himself and he begins to confess , first to Hélène, then to François. When both tell Charles that he is forgiven, Charles plans to give himself up to the police. This is the weakest movie among the 8, imo. Or perhaps, I just don't like the plot.

8. Madame Bovary (1991)

I tried to remember if I had read the book of Madame Bovary, but after watching this, I knew that I had not. Isabelle Huppert played Emma, a farmer's daughter who marries Doctor Bovary who has treated her father's broken foot. Emma dreams of a fascinating life, but Doctor Bovary is a simple man and Emma starts to get bored and miserable. The doctor tries his best to make her happy, but this is not easy as she is never satisfied. Emma's efforts to bring happiness to herself by having lovers finally lead her to her doom. This movie is not bad, and helps me in knowing what the book is about. The picture below shows of what I think is the most beautiful scene in the movie. Emma is so happy when she has a lover. "I have a lover," she whispers to herself, with a joy of a child who just got a new dress. To Emma, a lover is something to decorate her life. It seems for her that having a lover is a progress in her life, to have better position in society. She doesn't look for love, but a new adventure in her boring life. What makes Madame Bovary different from other romantic stories is: the heroine dies not because of love, but from shame for she cannot pay her debts.

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