Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Les Godelureaux

1961, France, directed by Claude Chabrol

Surely one of the strangest films to emerge from the nouvelle vague period, and probably the most Godard-ian of Chabrol's films (it's hard not to see its influence, in turn, on Bande à part, though there's nothing quite as glorious as that film's dance sequence). The film is a gleeful and sometimes literal destruction of bourgeois life and yet I couldn't help but also detect an affirmation of the likelihood that the same values will win out in the end -- a kind of foreshadowing of the performative aspects of 1968 as well as the surprisingly conventional aftermathe. There's a plotline -- Jean-Claude Brialy enacting a bizarre form of revenge after a joke is played on by a bunch of St-German larksters -- but that's secondary to the set pieces, most notably the central, quite extraordinary bacchanalia that results in the more-or-less consequence-free destruction of a stately home. The film is very much of its time in terms of its response to the early years of the nouvelle vague, and also a film of Paris, with great period views of the city. 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States