“Chabrol”, by Antoine de Baecque: a paradoxical nature

“Chabrol. Biography ”, by Antoine de Baecque, Stock, 624 p., € 32, digital € 31.

Antoine de Baecque * has resolved to write the history of the New Wave. He does it slowly but surely: Notebooks of the cinema. History of a journal in 1991 (Editions des Cahiers du cinéma), biographies of François Truffaut, with Serge Toubiana, in 1996 (Gallimard), of Jean-Luc Godard in 2010 (Grasset), of Eric Rohmer, with Noël Herpe, in 2014 (Stock) . Today it is the turn of Claude Chabrol (1930-2010) to be passed through the sieve of the historian, who offers a tour in 600 pages, film by film.

That is to say 57 feature films produced between 1958 (Beau Serge) and 2009 (Bellamy). Half a century of creations, going through the ups and downs of a popular filmmaker who needed to film like you breathe. A provocateur whose Balzacian project pierced the appearances of the bourgeoisie with delight. De Baecque restores the internal movement of the work, between two great producers (André Génovès then Marin Karmitz), between good times and crossings of the desert, as between the actresses muses, Stéphane Audran then Isabelle Huppert, one alienated from the bourgeois ideal, the other raising the arms of feminist revenge.

Chabrol, paradoxical nature, nevertheless resists exegesis. Humanist laughing at his childhood friendship with Jean-Marie Le Pen. Bourgeois assumed nailing the values ​​of the bourgeoisie to the pillory. Member of a New Wave of which he denies the existence. Author of masterpieces and casually aligned turnips. Despite the indisputable richness of the book, as well as the preliminary commitment to finally restore Chabrolian unity (the authors’ policy requires!), The filmmaker who claimed “Prefer to print the film rather than the reviews” keep his secret. For a little, you would still think you could hear him laughing.

Read an excerpt on the website of Éditions Stock.

* Antoine de Baecque collaborates with the “World of books”

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