Claude Chabrol has been sinking for some time. While contemporaries such as Jean-Luc Godard, Francis Truffaut and Eric Rohmer continue to be carried along on consistent waves of adulation, their names forever synonymous not only with with nouvelle vague movement that birthed them but to world cinema in general, Chabrol, ironically the first to be born out of that same movement, has slowly sunk below the surface as the years have progressed, his vast and prolific filmography fading from the light as his fellow French filmmaker’s work continues to bask in the sun.

There are numerous reasons for this. Godard and Truffaut set the world stage alight with films that broke all conventions, with masterpieces such as Breathless and The 400 Blows creating a Rubicon moment for cinema the world over. Chabrol’s early work, it seems, never quite shook cinema to its foundations quite like his fellow critics turned directors. Subsequently, he neither possessed Truffaut’s lofty ambitions to bring his cinema to the widest possible audience, nor Godard’s instance on attempting to deconstruct the very idea of what a film could be with each new release. Chabrol, blasphemously, was actually happy to revert back to traditional film making genres throughout his career and, perhaps more importantly, was far more interested in remaining in France and making French films than attempting to break down barriers elsewhere. Despite being born out of the New Wave, his was a career that afterwards refused to be defined by it, continuing instead to march to the beat of his own idiosyncratic preoccupations.

All of which is to say that it is a great shame that Chabrol is not better or more widely known. A director whose greatest influences lay in the work of Fritz Lang and Hitchcock, his body of work focuses on guilt, crime and the motivations that lie behind the darker aspects of human behaviour – meaty themes that frequently make for fascinating films. 

It is this unbalance, then, that Arrow’s new boxset of Chabrol films is perhaps attempting to address. Yet it has to be pointed out that the selection of films here do not make up an authoritative career overview (unlike boxsets released by StudioCanal for Truffaut or Godard, for example). Instead, this selection of films focuses on the latter part of Chabrol’s career in the Eighties and Nineties, beginning with a film that relaunched him both critically and commercially after a career slump. So, while it may not serve as an authoritative introduction to the director’s wider body of work, can it serve, instead, as an effective introduction to the director himself?

Before watching these films, I was generally unaware of Chabrol. His name rung a bell as a filmmaker of some importance, but he had generally always hovered at the periphery of my vision. While I was tempted to seek out the director’s earlier work in order to contextualise this group of films and hopefully understand them better, another part of me wanted to go in cold, like, I suspected, many other people would. Without the knowledge or experience of Chabrol’s previous work, how would these films stand up on their own? More importantly, would they entice me afterwards to seek out more of the director’s filmography? Or would I be put off and allow Chabrol to continue sinking into the murky depths of memory, where his filmography currently languishes as other, more famous names, continue to steal the spotlight?

COP AU VIN

Director: Claude Chabrol 
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol, Dominique Roulet (script) Dominique Roulet (novel)
Starring: Lucas Belvaux, Jean Poiret, Stéphane Audran
Year: 1985
Duration: 110 mins
Country: France

Cop Au Vin was made at a relative nadir in Chabrol’s career, arriving after a string of unsuccessful films that culminated in the rather disastrous television adaption of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Blood of Others. Cop Au Vin, the first film Chabrol made after his painful TV experience, also marked the first time he worked with producer Marin Karmitz, which turned out to be an incredibly fruitful relationship that helped to reignite his creative spark.

Based on a novel by Dominique Roulet (with whom Chabrol co-wrote the screenplay) Cop Au Vin focuses on the dark underbelly that is festering within an otherwise picturesque provincial French town. Louis Cuno (Lucas Belvaux) and his disabled mother (Stéphane Audran, Chabrol’s frequent collaborator and, at the time the film was made, his ex-wife) refuse to move from their dilapidated home to make way for a new housing development. When the greedy developers (including the local doctor) begin to pile on too much pressure, Louis decides to take things into his own hands, with dramatic consequences. When Police Inspector Lavardin (Jean Poiret) is called into investigate these serious developments, he uses his own unorthodox approach to discover exactly what is going on…

A film very much in vein of the traditional French Policier genre, Cop Au Vin, despite its dramatic components, feels very relaxed and sedate, far more akin to an episode of British TV’s Midsummer Murders than a hard boiled detective film. Indeed, for the first forty minutes or so, Cop Au Vin is decidedly unremarkable and only really begins to pick up once Lavardin arrives on the scene. Played with a wry, sardonic intelligence by Jean Poiret (a name that may seem familiar, as it was Poiret who wrote the original stage play of La Cage au Folles) his performance absolutely makes Cop Au Vin, which crackles into life whenever he appears on screen. A seemingly laid back detective who uses violent methods, he strides around this sleepy French town like John Nettles on steroids.

Outside of Poiret’s character and performance, however, Cop Au Vin is not always a resounding success. The central mystery fails to really grip or entice and, while an argument can certainly be made that this is a film more concerned about the characters than the investigation, the characters themselves, outside of the relationship between Louis and his wheelchair bound, domineering mother, aren’t particularly engaging.

Nevertheless, Cop Au Vin is solid, well made and thoroughly enjoyable. The kind of the film to curl up with on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, it is a comfortable criminal tale very much in the vein of Agatha Christie and launches Arrow’s Chabrol boxset off to a gentle, if rather inauspicious, start. 

INSPECTOR LAVARDIN

Director: Claude Chabrol 
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol, Dominique Roulet
Starring: Jean Poiret, Bernadette Lafont, Hermine Clair
Year: 1986
Duration: 100 mins
Country: France

The second film in Arrow’s Chabrol boxset turns out to be very much in the same vein as the first…which isn’t surprising, considering it is a sequel (of sorts). With Cop Au Vin proving to be a huge success (mainly due to Jean Poiret’s slickly abrasive police inspector) Chabrol wasted no time in bringing the popular detective back to cinema screens the very next year, this time headlining his very own movie in the imaginatively titled Inspector Lavardin. Instead of appearing forty minutes in as a supporting character, Jean Poiret’s Lavardin now dominates the film from the start, making this loose sequel feel structurally even more like an Agatha Christie homage than its predecessor.

Inspector Lavardin’s plot may have no direct connection with Cop Au Vin (beyond a few passing references) but it does strike a familiar tone, as Chabrol once again focuses on the dark underbelly lurking beneath the polite facade of a provincial French town. When a local author is found murdered, his body stripped naked with the word PIG written upon his back, Lavardin is called in to investigate. What complicates matters this time, however, is that the author’s widow is one of the detective’s old flames…

Like before, it is clear that Chabrol is more interested in the people being investigated than the intricacies of the actual crime itself. That being said, Inspector Lavardin does seem to take greater pleasure and care in the investigative process, with the central mystery being more engaging than Cop Au Vin’s rather predictable plotting. The tone at the beginning, however, is initially off putting (at one point, it feels like it is going to turn out to be some kind of light hearted satirical comedy) but things gradually become more serious the deeper Lavardin delves into the murky secrets of the town’s inhabitants. While the crime at the heart of the film feels darker and more sordid that the Inspector’s previous outing, the tone of Inspector Lavardin remains in Sunday evening murder mystery territory, shining a light on the darker side of human nature but refusing to dwell there for too long.

Poiret once again steals the show, his rebellious detective coming across once more like a slightly more civil Dirty Harry, although he is ably supported by a great cast of supporting characters, including a rather odd, unhinged Uncle with a creepy eye collection. Directed with an understated but very assured hand by Chabrol, Inspector Lavardin feels like a tighter, more efficient film that Cop Au Vin. I don’t think it is necessarily better, but it certainly felt like the more enjoyable of the two.

It is clear that Chabrol would have loved to have made more Lavardin films. He did make a couple of TV movies with Poiret, but the actor’s tragic heart attack ensured that he would never return to the cinema screen. Based on Inspector Lavardin, it is clear that there was a lot more creative fuel in the tank, so it is a great shame that we never got to see more.

MADAME BOVARY

Director: Claude Chabrol 
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol (script) Gustave Flaubert (novel)
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer, Lucas Belvaux, Christophe Malavoy
Year: 1991
Duration: 143 mins
Country: France

Perhaps buoyed by the success of the Lavardin mysteries, one of the subsequent films that Chabrol made had long been a passion project for him – namely, an adaption of Gustave Flaubert’s 19th century novel Madame Bovary. Regarded by many critics not only as the first modern novel but also as one of the greatest novels ever written, it had previously been adapted for the screen by heavyweights such as Jean Renoir and Vincent Minnelli…so, no pressure then.

Starring Isabelle Huppert as the legendary literary heroine, Madame Bovary tells the story of Emma, the lonely daughter of an affluent farmer, who marries Charles Bovary, a local doctor. Brought up on romantic novels, Emma soon discovers that her marriage to Charles falls far short of her idealised visions of romantic love. Breaking all the rules of society at the time, Emma afterwards attempts to find fulfilment in the arms of various lovers, in the hope that the love and affection she has always dreamed of will become a reality.

Madame Bovary is indeed a breathtakingly bitter and tragic story and one that has rightly been described as ‘the least romantic novel ever written’. So don’t be deceived by the romantic overtones of the plot; Flaubert’s tale is as bleak and cynical as they come, not only in its exploration of love and marriage but also in its study of human nature. In his adaptation, Chabrol captures some essence of this but ultimately misses the mark in others.

In its favour, the film is resoundingly loyal and faithful to the source material and skilfully manages to capture Flaubert’s sense of acidic realism, captured through a muted colour palette and drab, authentic sets and locations that feel far more mundane than magical. Huppert, as to be expected, is incredibly good in the title role, adroitly capturing Emma Bovary’s distain and fiery sense of rebellion as well as her innate selfishness and vanity. Yet both Huppert and Chabrol never plumb the depths of Emma’s despair or inner torment, the depression or ennui so apparent in the novel only making brief, fleeting appearances.

Chabrol also presents the story to the audience in an almost factual manner, never trying to elicit any broader or deeper emotions. Emma’s relationships are skipped over with a sense of brisk, distancing efficiency. We are never allowed behind the curtain of Emma’s affairs, with Chabrol ensuring that the audience are kept as interested observers rather than emotional participants throughout the trials and tribulations of Emma’s romantic entanglements. As a consequence, the tragedy at the heart of story loses some of its impact, as we are never allowed to truly settle and empathise with Emma’s plight. 

Chabrol also keeps his focus on the personal tragedy of the story, ignoring the final pages of the book that move Madame Bovary from the realm of personal tragedy towards to a wider condemnation of human avarice and selfishness. The satire and irony that is so intrinsic to the novel is widely lost, resulting in a film that perfectly relates the story of Madame Bovary without fully telling it.

To be fair, others found far more success in Chabrol’s adaption that I did and, if you are going in cold, this is a no doubt a superior ‘prestige’ film with a dark, tragic heart. Fans of the novel, however, many find there that is something lacking. For a novel as stunning as Madame Bovary though, you feel that will always be the case, no matter who is tackling the cinematic adaptation.

BETTY

Director: Claude Chabrol 
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol (script) Georges Simone (novel)
Starring: Marie Trintignant, Stéphane Audran, Jean-François Garreaud
Year: 1992
Duration: 103 mins
Country: France

The next film in Arrow’s Chabrol set feels like a modern day response to Madame Bovary, featuring another woman trapped in a loveless marriage, yearning for affection outside the stifling confines of matrimony.

A dark, rich character study based upon a novel by the amazingly prolific French crime author Georges Simone, Betty begins almost like a noir, wreathed in a smokey, mysterious atmosphere. The film opens with Betty (Marie Trintignant), a rather disheveled looking young woman driven to drink by self hatred and despair, being picked up and taken to Le Trou (The Hole), a bar in Versailles, populated by rich down and outers. After Betty drinks too much and passes out, she wakes up in a luxurious hotel, being cared for by middle-aged alcoholic Laure (Stéphane Audran once again). Laure attempts to care for and look after Betty, trying to save her from self destruction as her mysterious past gradually comes to light…

Originating from the pen of an author made famous for the Maigret series of detective novels, it is  fairly ironic that the central mystery to be solved in Betty is not a crime but an actual person. The unravelling of Betty’s past is the heart of the film, told both through flashbacks and elliptical  pulses of memory as Laure valiantly attempts to drag Betty away from her chosen mode of self destruction. One of the film’s key successes is how these flashbacks are deployed. Chabrol avoids a linear narrative in depicting Betty’s past, instead jumping between time periods that add a lucidity and sense of realism to the narrative. They also superbly help in establishing and maintaining an air of mystery, as the truth about Betty’s circumstances are slowly revealed.

Yet the key success of Betty lies in Marie Trintignant’s performance. Her portrayal of the fragile, mercurial title character is magnetic throughout, brilliantly depicting the crushing sense of boredom and loneliness that have led to Betty’s downfall and destruction. While Trintignant is  wonderfully supported by both Stéphane Audran’s melancholy Laure and Christiane Minazzoli’s stern, domineering mother-in-law, Betty completely belongs to Trintignant, who anchors the narrative with a darkly rebellious allure that seeks not sympathy but merely understanding.

This is also reflected through Chabrol’s direction. He holds both the characters and emotions at an objective distance throughout, until a quietly tragic finale concludes the narrative in a manner that you may not expect. As the final credits roll, you realise just how dark a film Betty actually is. A feminist exploration of sexuality and the societal prisons women can find themselves in, the film sees its characters strive for emancipation and freedom, no matter what the cost may be to those around them. Bold, subversive and direct, Betty feels like a world apart from the Inspector Lavardin mysteries, where comforting resolutions are replaced by a sense of pyrrhic Darwinian triumph and proves that a richly sketched character needs to be neither wholly sympathetic or selfish, just as long as they are captivating.

TORMENT (L’ENFER)

Director: Claude Chabrol 
Screenplay: Claude Chabrol (script) Henri-Georges Clouzot (original screenplay)
Starring: François Cluzet, Emmanuelle Béart
Year: 1994
Duration: 102 mins
Country: France

For a director obsessed with the Master of Suspense, it seems entirely fitting that the final film of Arrow’s inarguable boxset of Chabrol films is based on a screenplay by Henri-Georges Clouzot, the man who is viewed by many as the French Alfred Hitchcock. In fact, Clouzot’s screenplay very nearly became a feature film in 1964, but a series of mishaps and disasters ensured that what could have been Clouzot’s masterpiece never saw the light of day (if any of this seems familiar, it is because Arrow released a documentary about the film, named Inferno, a few years ago and is well worth checking out).

In the early Nineties, Chabrol took the first draft of Clouzot’s screenplay about jealousy and madness and turned into his next movie. It is not hard to see why it appealed; out of all the films in the boxset, this is easily the most overtly Hitchcockian and cinematic, which at points almost feels as though fellow Hitchcock disciple DePalma has stepped behind the lens.

Torment tells the story of Paul (François Cluzet) and Nelly (Emmanuelle Béart) a married couple who live an ideal existence running a luxury hotel in the French countryside. When Paul catches  the free spirited Nelly spending time alone with another man, he tries to brush it off as an innocent encounter…yet the more he observes his wife, the more he begins to doubt her, slowly allowing his jealously to torment his every waking thought until he his life becomes a living hell…

While Torment shares some thematic DNA with both Madame Bovary and Betty (affairs, unhappy marriages) it is altogether a very different beast. Constructed with surgical precision by Chabrol that recalls the work of Michael Haneke as much as it does Hitchcock or Clouzot, this is far more of a dark psychological thriller than a dramatic exploration of marriage and infidelity. Yet Chabrol’s continued exploration of why humans do what they do as opposed to just what they do, ensures that Torment feels as much a part of the director’s own canon than merely a homage.

Despite a few stylish set pieces and some technical flourishes (such as the use of split diopter lenses), you feel that Chabrol’s main interest is in the psychological disintegration of the characters, rather than attempting to squeeze every last ounce of tension out of the script. An unusual, almost novelistic approach helps in this regard, as we frequently hear Paul’s internal monologue as he battles with his jealously and paranoia. What starts out as the character’s own thoughts soon morph into what feels like a personal Iago living inside his head, drip feeding insidious ideas at every opportunity.

François Cluzet is unafraid to push his character to the very edge of sympathy (and then literally miles beyond it) in a brave performance that is in no way concerned with keeping the audience on his side, while Emmanuelle Béart manages to brilliantly convey her mounting anger, frustration and despair at her husband, while never letting us forget that she remains in love with him.

As a dark exploration of psychological hell, Torment is a resounding success. If you ignore the small plot hole or two (why, for example, did Paul’s jealousy start years into their marriage and not straight away?) it also works as a gripping thriller and is a significant calling card for Chabrol’s versatility as a filmmaker. Add in an ambiguous ending that feels almost existential in its bleakness and Torment ends up being not only the most outrightly gripping and enjoyable film in Arrow’s boxset, but one that you feel (despite the differences of approach) that Clouzet and perhaps even Hitchcock himself would have been proud.

Arrow are releasing Lies and Deceit – Five Films by Claude Chabrol on the 21st February in a limited edition Blu Ray boxset, which contains the five films in addition to an 80 page book of new writing by a variety of critics. The picture quality for all five films looked fantastic on my television BUT I do need to mention word of warning here. There has been some angry chatter on the internet about the new look of the films, which differ rather dramatically from previous cinematic and home video releases. Many of the films have had their contrast pushed, resulting in a darker image, while the colours across the board are now far richer and more saturated, with a strong teal push in places. Now, I saw these films cold, with no idea how they previously appeared, and I need to state that I thought that they looked wonderful. Madame Bovary, Betty and Torment are all struck from new 4K restorations, boasting glorious fine details, and in ordinary circumstances would have received a hearty thumbs up from me. However, if you are a fan of Chabrol and are familiar with these films, it might be prudent to do a little bit of research before purchasing. If you are new to Chabrol and these five films, then personally I wouldn’t let these new grades put you off. Each film looks stunningly crisp, clean and detailed and, most importantly, perfectly fine and legitimate in their own right. Audio, for which the discs use the original lossless PMC mono tracks, is like likewise clean, sharp and legible across all five films.

Arrow’s boxset is positively bursting with extras, some of which are unique to each disc, while a series of similar extras have been added to all five films. Let’s take a look at the extras that appear on all five discs first.

Commentaries: Each film in the set is accompanied by a feature length commentary. Film critic Ben Sachs provides commentary duties for both Cop Au Vin and Inspector Lavardin. While Sachs continually offers interesting thoughts on Jean Poiret’s detective and really helps to place and analyse the films within the context of Chabrol’s wider career, there are unfortunately far too many gaps and moments of silence throughout each commentary that ruin the experience slightly; it is almost as if, as he reaches the end of the films, Sachs has run out of things to say. More successful are the two tracks by Kat Ellinger for both Madame Bovary and Betty. Ellinger delivers two incredibly interesting, analytical commentaries,  exploring both films in the context of Chabrol’s filmography, finding the themes and preoccupations that link them all together. Even if you are not a fan of the adaptation, her commentary for Madame Bovary is a particular highlight, going into great depths as she discusses Flaubert’s masterpiece. The final commentary for Torment is hosted by film critics Alexandra Heller Nicholas and Josh Nelson. This is a slightly more informal commentary but doesn’t stint on the analytical detail and analysis, as they discuss the history of the film and the various interruptions that can be applied to the plot. All of the commentaries are heavy on critical analysis and interpretation; they aren’t necessarily light listening, but together they offer a brilliant deconstruction of the films and a great introduction to Chabrol and his career.

Selected scenes commentaries by Chabrol: Perhaps the most valuable extras on these discs are these selected scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol himself. Lasting between 30-45 minutes each, Chabrol goes through key scenes from each film in detail. For most of these commentaries, Chabrol focuses far more on the technical aspects of his film making, explaining how his camera moves and blocking influences and informs the audience about the characters and situations. Delivered in a wry, frequently self deprecating manner, these reveal what a meticulous and precise film maker Chabrol was. Each of these commentaries are essential and fascinating listens that really help to broaden and deepen your appreciation for the films.

Archive introductions by film scholar Joël Magny: Each film contains a very short introduction by the film scholar Joël Magny. Each is only 2-3 mins long but they all offer a concise and succinct summary of the films and their themes. These might be worth watching after each film, however, just to avoid potential spoilers.

Each disc also contains its own unique set of extra features, which are as follows:

  • An Interview with Ian Christie, a brand new interview with film historian Ian Christie about the cinema of Claude Chabrol
  • Claude Chabrol at the BFI, Chabrol discusses his career in this hour long archival interview conducted onstage at the National Film Theatre in 1994
  • Claude Chabrol, Jean Poiret & Stephane Audran in conversation, an archival Swiss TV episode in which the director and cast discuss Cop Au Vin (Poulet au vinaigre)
  • Why Chabrol?, a brand new interview with film critic Sam Wigley about why the films of Claude Chabrol remain essential viewing
  • Imagining Emma: Madame Bovary on screen, a brand new visual essay by film historian Pamela Hutchinson
  • Betty, from Simenon to Chabrol, a brand new visual essay by French Cinema historian Ginette Vincendeau
  • An Interview with Ros Schwartz, a brand new interview with the English translator of the Georges Simenon novel on which the film is based
  • On Henri Georges Clouzot, an archival interview with Claude Chabrol in which he talks about fellow director Henri Georges Clouzot (Les diaboliques), whose original attempt to make L’enfer was abandoned, and how the project came to Chabrol
  • An Interview with Marin Karmitz, an archival interview with Marin Karmitz, Chabrol’s most frequent producer

It is the first disc that contains the meatiest extras, the most substantial of which is a 1994 BFI interview with Chabrol. This is an engaging and thoroughly entraining chat about Chabrol’s career, referencing everything from his early influences to candid discussions about his more notable failures. Chabrol himself is a charming and humble interviewee who is consistently fun to watch, but I feel you might need to know more about the director’s career to get the most out of this interview… several points of reference and discussions may go over your head if you are coming to Chabrol for the first time. In a nice companion piece, Ian Christie, the BFI’s interviewer from 1994, has been brought back to offer a new discussion about Chabrol, which serves as an engaging and concise introduction to the director. The final extra here is an archival episode from a Swiss TV show – here, we get to see Chabrol discuss Cop Au Vin, but the real pleasure here is the fact that he is accompanied by both Jean Poiret and Stéphane Audran in discussing the film.

Disc Two contains an interview with film critic Sam Wigley, who, like Ian Christie, offers an overview of Chabrol and his career, going into detail about his themes, style and lead actresses. Once again, this is a decent introduction to the director.

Disc Three contains a visual essay by film historian Pamela Hutchinson exploring the various cinematic adaptions of Madame Bovary. This is a really interesting look at the history of Madame Bovary on screen, followed by a shorter analysis of the merits and successes of Chabrol’s adaptation. Hutchinson highlights the difficulty of adapting the book in finding a balance between the realism of the narrative and the romantic fantasy of the character’s internal life.

Disc Four contains two unique extras. The first is a visual essay by French Cinema historian Ginette Vincendeau, who offers an analysis of both the novel and the film of Betty. It ends with a poignant tribute to Marie Trintignant, who was killed by her boyfriend in 2003. The next extra serves as a further continuation of the BFI interview on the first disc. Here, Ros Schwartz, the translator who sat next to Chabrol during the BFI interview (and who has also translated several of Simone’s Maigret novels into English) offers her thoughts on both the director and novelist.

Finally on Disc Five, we get an interview with Chabrol about adapting Clouzet’s Inferno, where the director discusses the process behind his choices to make the film, then goes on to to compare his approach to the material against Clouzet’s original, far more psychedelic, take. The final extra is a half an hour interview with Producer Marin Karmitz, who worked with Chabrol extensively throughout his career (including for all the films in this boxset). He explains his background to working with Chabrol, including deciding to make films cheaply in order to maintain their freedom, before going on to explore the themes of Chabrol’s films and the essence of the man who made them. This is a really interesting, heartfelt interview from the man who perhaps who Chabrol better than most and is fantastic extra to end the boxset on.

Today, Chabrol may have become a fairly marginalised director (at least in comparison to his more iconic peers) but this lack in status should in no way lead one to assume that Chabrol’s work should be viewed as somehow less significant. Based upon just these five films, it is clear that Chabrol was a precise and incredibly versatile director with a deep interest in the darker aspects of human nature and behaviour. While none of the films contained here are masterpieces, each is expertly constructed and eminently enjoyable and, in the case of Betty and Torment, exhibit the work of a master filmmaker who knew his craft to the letter. Without a shadow of a doubt, this boxset has inspired me to explore more of Chabrol’s career and I cannot wait for the release of the next Arrow Chabrol boxset in April. For any Chabrol fans wondering whether to pick this first boxset up, I personally wouldn’t let the new grades on the films put you off. It is clear that a huge amount of love and care has gone into this release, which includes five separate commentaries and hours of Chabrol himself discussing his work, along with visual essays and interviews that serve as great companion pieces to the individual films (not to mention the 80 page book, that I didn’t get a chance to look at for this review). For both older fans and for those curious to discover the work of one of the forgotten architects of the French New Wave, Arrow’s new boxset comes highly recommended.

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