Claude Chabrol  

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Claude Chabrol (24 June 1930 – 12 September 2010) was a French film director, a member of the French New Wave (nouvelle vague) group of filmmakers who first came to prominence at the end of the 1950s. Like his colleagues and contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, Chabrol was a critic for the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma before beginning his career as a film maker.

He became well-known since his first film, Le Beau Serge (1958) for his chilling Hitchcockian tales of murder, including Le Boucher (1970).



After spending World War II in the village of Sardent, where he and a friend constructed a makeshift movie theater, Chabrol returned to Paris to study pharmacology at the University of Paris. There Chabrol became involved with the postwar cine club culture and met Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and others with whom he would write for Cahiers du cinéma throughout the 1950s. In 1957, Chabrol co-wrote with Éric Rohmer Hitchcock (Paris: Éditions Universitaires, 1957), a study of the films made by director Alfred Hitchcock through the film The Wrong Man (1957). Chabrol had interviewed Hitchcock with Francois Truffaut in 1955 on the set of To Catch a Thief, where the two famously walked into a fountain after being starstuck by Hitchcock. Years later, when Chabrol and Truffaut had both become successful directors themselves, Hitchcock told Truffaut that he always thought of them when he saw "two ice cubes floating in his drink."

In 1958, Chabrol made his feature directorial debut with Le Beau Serge (1958), a Hitchcock-influenced drama starring Jean-Claude Brialy partly funded by his wife's inheritance and among the first films of the French New Wave. A critical success, it won Chabrol the Prix Jean Vigo and was followed the next year by Les Cousins, one of the New Wave's first commercial successes, and Chabrol's first color film, À double tour, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. The most prolific of the major New Wave directors, Chabrol averaged almost one film a year from 1958 until his death. His early films (roughly 1958-1963) are usually categorized as part of the New Wave and generally have the experimental qualities associated with the movement. Beginning with his "Golden Era" films (1967- 1974) he established what would be his signature "Chabrol-esque" style, usually suspense thrillers in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock.

His first marriage to Agnès produced a son, Matthieu Chabrol, a French composer who scored most of his father's films starting in the early 80's. He divorced Agnès to marry the actress Stéphane Audran, with whom he had a son, actor Thomas Chabrol. His third wife was Aurore Paquiss, who has been a script supervisor since the 1950's. In 1995 he was awarded the Prix René Clair from the Académie française for his body of work.


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