Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique. This thriller from Henri‑Georges Clouzot, which shocked audiences in Europe and the U.S., is the story of two women—the fragile wife and the willful mistress of the sadistic headmaster of a boys’ boarding school—who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its unprecedented narrative twists and terrifying images, Diabolique is a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse. –The Criterion Collection
Acclaimed in particular for his thrillers, Clouzot was one of the genuine rivals to Alfred Hitchcock and, at his peak, seemed to anticipate the moves of the better-known English director. Born in 1907 in Niort, Clouzot intended upon a career in the French navy but was barred from that opportunity by poor eyesight and chronic ill health. He studied political science with the intention of joining the diplomatic service and he served on the staff of a Rightist political figure after graduation from college, but in the late ‘20s, Clouzot moved into writing, first as a journalist and, starting in the early ’30s, as a screenwriter and playwright. He co-authored numerous scripts between 1931 and 1933, in addition to making the short thriller La Terreur des Batignolles and serving as an assistant to several directors, including Anatole Litvak, E.A. Dupont, and Karl Hartl, on various projects. Clouzot’s initial start in films was interrupted in the mid-‘30s when his declining health forced him… read more
Many films are described as "Hitchcock-like" and Diabolique is one picture truly deserving of such an accolade. Few thrillers of this type have such meticulous framing, subtelty in writing and in acting. Diabolique can be interpreted as if a commentary on education too. The definitive sequence occurs with the ending, it makes for such iconic cinema, many would call it a diabolical twist in itself (pardon the pun).
The sexual cold war just heated up.
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
A retrospective is on at MoMA through Christmas Eve and at the Harvard Film Archive through December 18.
"Margot Benacerraf, now in her 80s, only ever made one feature-length film," begins Josef Braun, "but that film remains so extraordinary, so
Where to begin. Perhaps with Scott Foundas's introduction to "Serge Bromberg, who began fervently collecting films at age nine, and
Out of town; my work takes me out of town. I empty villages. I burn their houses down. I set up factories. Lay out plantations And bring
Pour ceux qui ne l’ont pas vu, cet avis sera proposé avec quelques spoilers. Vous voilà donc prévenus et comme le dit le carton de fin, je ne tiens pas à révéler l’histoire à ceux qui doivent encore… read review
One reason why this film probably has a hard time to find love in young audiences is that they feel it has all been done before. Well, you probably already spotted the glaring anachronism here and… read review