Le Beau Serge (1958)
French New Wave Begins
13 September 2016
Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village has not changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has become a drunkard. Francois now tries to find out what happened to him and tries to help him.

It has been cited as the first product of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave, film movement. The film is often compared with Chabrol's subsequent film "Les Cousins", which also features Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain. Perhaps I am mistaken, but "Cousins" is the film that is better known today and more highly praised. But, of course, it was also more expensive to make, so we couldn't have "Cousins" if "Serge" had not been a success.

The film initially ran to 2 hours and 35 minutes, though Chabrol cut a great deal of quasi-documentary material to reduce the running time, a decision he later regretted. Where exactly that footage is now, I have no idea, because the version released by Criterion is a modest 99 minutes. This would mean an extra 45 minutes may exist somewhere.
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