Gérard Blain and Jean - Claude Brialy star in the first of their collaborations with the great Claude Chabrol. The director's masterful feature debut - ironic, funny, unsparing - is a revelation: another of that rare breed of film where the dusty formula might be used in full sincerity: Le Beau Serge
marks the beginning of " the Chabrol touch. "
In this first feature film of the French New Wave, one year before Truffaut's The Four Hundred Blows
, the dandyish François (Brialy, of Godard's A Woman Is a Woman
, Rohmer's Claire's Knee
, and countless other cornerstones of 20th - century French cinema) takes a holiday from the city to his home village of Sardent, where he reconnects with his old chum Serge (Blain), now a besotted and hopeless alcoholic, and sly duplicitous carnal Marie (Bernadette Lafont). A grave triangle forms, and a tragic slide ensues.
From Le Beau Serge
onward up to his final film Bellamy
in 2009, the revered Chabrol would come to leave a significant and lasting impression upon the French cinema - frequently with great commercial success. It is with great pride that we present Le Beau Serge
, the kickstart of the Nouvelle Vague and of Chabrol's enormous body of work, on Blu - ray and DVD in the UK for the first time. SPECIAL DVD EDITION:
REVIEWS: " It presents a bleak, beautifully observed picture of provincial life"
- Gorgeous new Gaumont restoration of the film in its original aspect ratio
- New and improved English subtitles
- Original theatrical trailer
- A 56 - minute documentary about the making of the film
- L' Avarice [ Avarice] , Chabrol's 1962 short film
- A lengthy booklet with a new and exclusive essay by critic Emmanuel Burdeau; excerpts of interviews and writing by Chabrol; and more.
- Time Out " Le Beau Serge received overwhelming critical approval of its use of non-professional actors, raw black-and-white photography (masterfully executed by Henri Decae), and personal vision. "
- TV Guide's Movie Guide
On stepping off the bus from Paris, François (Jean-Claude Brialy) quickly registers that life in his native village, Sardent, has moved on. Beneath the calm surface, an explosive cocktail of gossip, boredom, and repressed sexuality has fermented. Ostensibly back to recuperate from a bout of tuberculosis, François soon embarks on an almost religious quest to save his former close friend Serge (Gérard Blain) from self-destructive despair and alcoholism, and so the film resonates with Christian overtones of suffering, redemption and salvation. But it's not long before François falls into the arms and bed of the voluptuous Marie (Bernadette Laffont), thereby fuelling the villagers' mounting hostility to what they widely perceive as intrusive meddling.
"You examine us as if we were insects", Marie complains to François. Director Claude Chabrol began his career as a film critic for Les Cahiers du cinema, and observations like Marie's also operate as a running commentary on cinema itself. Le Beau Serge was instrumental in setting the agenda for what a vibrant modern cinema might be and do, and it was precisely in relation to this film that the very idea of a nouvelle vague (New Wave) in French cinema was first proposed at the end of the 50s. The passionate cinephilia that fuelled this new cinematic adventure feeds the film's innovative mix of a quasi-documentary neorealism and flights of Hitchcockian melodrama.
Cinematographer Henri Decae provides stunning photography of rural France, and the film as a whole retains an extraordinary freshness: colloquial speech and local accent are juxtaposed with Emile Delpierre's score, and the carefully composed imagery is brought to life by a generation of actors whose faces have yet to acquire the iconic status they enjoy today in French cinema. --Michael Witt
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.