The flippant youth of the French New Wave get a thrilling dose of menace in Claude Chabrol’s third film. With the spontaneity and freshness so particular to the New Wave, the film follows the carefree lives of three young Parisian shopgirls (a stunning Bernadette Lafont, Chabrol’s future wife and constant collaborator Stéphane Audran, and Clotilde Joano as the doe-eyed, naïve romantic of the group). But while these chic young women may be emblems of a hip, modern new generation looking for love and success in the city, behind Paris’ glittering energy lurks the malevolence of men. While a absurdly comic, lecherous male duo goes playfully hunting for promiscuity amongst the girls, a mysterious, motorcycle-riding stalker (Mario David) follows their every move. Possessing the aura of romance that Clotilde Joano dreamily seeks, the man’s distant devotion and constant presence suggests all exciting, ambivalent mystery of a vivacious Paris of 1960. Whimsy turns to pain; humiliation is saved by unexpected chivalry; and the great, true love of dreams is never what it seems. Often ignorantly dismissed for his influence from Hitchcock and Fritz Lang, Chabrol’s early film is energetic, spontaneous, and thrillingly bizarre. Grafted together are the fresh street views of Paris and impulsive, romantic youth life of the New Wave with cautioning, darkly droll hints at the peril such wide-eyed flirtations may be inviting.
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
A key film of the early French New Wave cinema is this strange, bold, naturalistic picture from Chabrol. We follow a trio of Parisien shopgirls and their travails with the men in their lives; the ones they want and the ones they rather not have. The pursuit of romance and dreams seems to end in disappointment and in the final section far worse. Beautiful to look at featuring some wonderful performances. Disturbing.
Chabrol's fourth film was a financial failure when it first came out but its reputation has grown over the years. It's a captivating mixture of genres telling the story of four young women who work in an electrical goods shop and dream of a better life. Featuring a penultimate scene of power and tragedy and a final scene of mystery and beauty, this is another superb film from the early days of the French New Wave...
"Nowadays you never know what you are going to get from Claude Chabrol," wrote Derek Malcolm in the Guardian back in 1999. "But there was
Although Les Bonnes Femmes, is beautifully directed by Claude Chabrol and the pacing brings the viewer through a uniquely styled French film, the characters are shallow, uninteresting, and lose any… read review
I think this is Chabrol’s most underrated work, and one I’ve seen many times. My barebones DVD copy already survived two deployments in Iraq. There’s something about this film – the characters, the… read review
The four single women who work together all day long at an electric appliance store are ready for action at lunch time and when the store closes at 7PM. They are young, fun-loving and almost like school… read review