Le Beau Serge (1958)
7/10
thoughtful and involving
18 February 2017
This is such a low key film, watched today, especially considering its importance in world cinema, being Claude Chabrol's first film and the film that is considered to have set off the Nouvelle Vague. It seems especially ordinary when compared to Godard's A Bout De Soufflé and Vivre Sa Vie, but then these were from 1960 and 1962, two and four years after this breakthrough film. Although this film is not city set and street wise, still harbouring melodrama and some theatricality it is not set bound, is made entirely within the village using the inhabitants within the drama and contains some bold camera-work, including long tracking shots and dynamic close-ups. It is also about the people we are introduced to, there is no historic event being reconstructed or alluded to, this is the here and now. Jean-Claude Braly plays Francois, the young man returning to the village after 12 years apparently a wiser man and Gerard Blain plays his old chum Serge who he feels could have done better for himself. Some great snow scenes at the end round off a thoughtful and involving piece.
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