Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France, 1958. Ajym Films, Coopérative Générale du Cinéma Français. Screenplay by Claude Chabrol. Cinematography by Henri Decae. Produced by Claude Chabrol. Music by Emile Delpierre. Film Editing by Jacques Gaillard.
Claude Chabrol made a remarkably self-assured debut with this quietly upsetting melodrama about the rift between two friends. Straight-laced and clean-cut Jean-Claude Brialy recovers from an illness and visits the village where he once spent youthful years. He catches up with his old friend Gérard Blain, but while his friend is still charismatic and handsome, he is also on the road to self-destruction. Blain’s Serge drinks too much, is far too mean to his pregnant wife and can barely hold down a job, and as the film progresses we watch as these two bump heads thanks to the differences that have developed over the years since they were together. There are no overt situations, no melodramatic climaxes, just the soft touch of a director who would go on to make so many subtle classics in his rich and varied career.