Sunday, March 19, 2017

Now on FilmStruck: Le Beau Serge (1958)

Le Beau Serge (1958) - Written and Directed by Claude Chabrol; Starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Gerard Blain, Michele Meritz, Bernadette Lafont.

By Kenny Howell

When you think of early French New Wave, The 400 Blows and Breathless probably first come to mind, but the movement actually originated with this first film from master Claude Chabrol (Les Bonnes Femmes).

Jean-Claude Brialy plays Francois, a man who has been away from the small village where he grew up for about 10 years. He comes back, and it is the same, kind of depressing place he remembers. Work is hard to come by, and the chance of escaping the area are a cloud that hangs over all that live there.

One think that has changed is his friend Serge (Gerard Blain). Serge is now a drunk, and his life has fallen apart so drastically. Francois sees it as his duty to help his good friend, but Serge doesn't want it, and doesn't understand why Francois is taking the higher ground, as if his time away has made him the authority on what is right.

This isn't the monumental achievement that those two films I mentioned in the first paragraph were, but it is a solid first film from a man that would go on to become a filmmaking legend. Worth it most of all just to see where one of the most influential film movements began, but also because it is nice piece of work.

Le Beau Serge is now streaming on FilmStruck as a part of the Criterion collection.

Rating: ***

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