Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games goes too far. Dazed, Charles walks out of the borrowed apartment in Paris and soon bumps into François in a nearby bistro. They drive back together to Versailles, where they have beautiful neighboring houses designed by François. The owner of the apartment had seen Laura and Charles together two months earlier, but she does not tell the police on the advice of François. Even though the police do not seem to have any clues to the crime, Charles has a difficult time coping with the situation, and trying to live a normal life with his two children and loving wife Hélène. —Pathfinder Pictures
Widely credited as the founding father of the French Nouvelle Vague movement, Claude Chabrol is responsible for a body of work that is as prolific as it is boldly defined. A master of the suspense thriller, Chabrol approaches his subjects with a cold, distanced objectivity that has led at least one critic to liken him to a compassionate but unsentimental god viewing the foibles and follies of his creations. Inherent in all of Chabrol’s thrillers is the observation of the clash between bourgeois value and barely-contained, oftentimes violent passion. This clash gives the director’s work a melodramatic quality that has allowed him to drift between the realm of the art film and that of popular entertainment.
Born in Paris on June 24, 1930, Chabrol was educated at the University of Paris, where he was a pharmacology student, and at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques. Following some military service, he developed an interest in the cinema and worked for a brief time in the publicity… read more
had heard very good things from this film by monsieur chabrol. however, i was somewhat disappointed with it. a littel too slow for my liking. i did enjoy the beach scenes, particulary the pram being pushed as helene gazes out to sea. the ending was also very satisfying. oh, and ms. audran's eyes: spectacular.
"As cinema, Just Before Nightfall is more Dostoevskian than most adaptations of Dostoevsky. But the viewer must develop a double vision of this and all movies, one vision for the spectacle on the screen, and another for the directorial attitude reflected in the spectacle. The key to the creative mystery is to be found in the pattern of personal style. In this respect, Just Before Nightfall is one of Chabrol's most evocative films, which is to say that if you have never seen a Chabrol film, this is a good one to start with, and that if you have seen many Chabrol films you will appreciate this one all the more."—Andrew Sarris
Two years after appearing in The Unfaithful Wife, Bouquet and Audran played another married couple for Chabrol but this time it was the husband being unfaithful instead of the wife in a wittily clever and dark film. A sense of guilt and the need for atonement compels the husband to confess to his wife and best friend after he accidentally kills his lover. Their surprising response leads to an unexpected resolution...