The Claude Chabrol Collection If 2003's Flower of Evil revived a taste for the French director's special brand of tart, smart filmmaking, then feast on The Claude Chabrol Collection…
DVD Review

The Claude Chabrol Collection

If 2003's Flower of Evil revived a taste for the French director's special brand of tart, smart filmmaking, then feast on The Claude Chabrol Collection (Unrated, 8 hrs., 38 mins., subtitled, 1984-98, Kino/KimStim). Best of the bunch is Betty, in which a promiscuous outcast (a haunting Marie Trintignant) is befriended by an older widow (Stéphane Audran). Chabrol deftly toggles past and present (sometimes simultaneously) in a melodrama that discomforts as much as it beguiles. L'Enfer, with Emmanuelle Béart as a wife whose blissful marriage crumbles when her husband devolves into a jealous nutjob, seductively pulls us inside a paranoid's head. The wry detective mysteries Cop au Vin and Inspecteur Lavardin slyly observe provincial life thrown off by death and other inconveniences. And in The Color of Lies, the rape and murder of a child opens a fissure of distrust between a couple (Sandrine Bonnaire and Jacques Gamblin). The mood of dread is sustained by pleasurable, seemingly effortless craft. EXTRAS But in a too-brief partial commentary on L'Enfer, the director makes clear that little is arbitrary or tossed off in his work. Trailers and critical essays très fran¸ais from scholar Joel Magny are also included on each disc. Betty: A- L'Enfer: B+ Cop: B+ Inspecteur: B+ Lies: B+

Originally posted Aug 12, 2005 Published in issue #834-835 Aug 19, 2005 Order article reprints
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