Claude Chabrol Isabel Quigly - Essay

Isabel Quigly

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In those ferocious discussions over Form and Content that shake the film world (well, bits of it) from time to time, in which the lunatic fringe on one side maintains that it doesn't care twopence what a film-maker says so long as he says it beautifully, and on the other that it doesn't care twopence how he says it so long as he's got something to say; and the rest of us, non-lunatics to a man, hover somewhere between the two, feeling craven, the name of Claude Chabrol springs to mind, or at least to my mind, in no time. For if there was ever a skilful film-maker with precious little to say, here, as one thin, vivacious, well-arranged nullity after another has proved, he is….

Individualists like Truffaut, Demy and Godard have gone their own way, each a separate, unallied artist, quickly diverging from any 'norm' there might have been at the beginning of that creative outburst, overpraised like most innovations, which the press rather meaninglessly christened 'nouvelle vague.' But Chabrol remains what everyone suspected the whole bunch of them to be, a sort of amalgam of them all, with his alarming, representative figures of Youth (which parody everyone's most gruesome views on the subject), his overheated situations, his whole presentation of life as being at the same time souped-up and squalid, and, of course, his intense, myopic view of human affairs. Obviously Pope had a prophetic view of the cinema when he said:

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(The entire section is 450 words.)