Friday, July 24, 2015

Les Fantômes du chapelier

1982, France, directed by Claude Chabrol

Simenon and Chabrol are well-matched: highly productive artists who were also voracious consumers on a great many levels, and with a shared set of thoroughly mixed feelings when it comes to the bourgeoisie. Thus here the killer himself isn't so much  the target of Chabrol's ire as is the milieu in which he existsIn an environment where carefully-regulated sexual infidelity and domestic inattentiveness are tolerated, or even encouraged, what more profound transgression than casting oneself out through indulging in a spot of serial killing? While Serrault's performance is certainly showy, occasionally even distracting, I loved his very precise work throughout: the little dances with his hands, the exactitude of almost all of his actions, the very controlled delivery of the dialogue. Chabrol also makes fine use of the off-season Breton locations, in Quimper and Concarneau -- the rain is virtually a character in its own right.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States