Directed by Claude Chabrol with Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Michel Bouquet
1970, France An essential film in Chabrol’s vast oeuvre, La rupture was made during what is widely considered the director’s peak period. In the late 60s Chabrol began turning out “elegant, imperiously assured studies in sex, mendacity and murder in the French middle class” (Terrence Rafferty), classics whose subject matter (bourgeois characters behaving very badly) and demeanor of restrained suspense exemplify his singular vision. La rupture was the fourth of these to star Stéphane Audran, Chabrol’s wife and muse of the “Hélène” cycle, a series of over 20 films whose heroines were created for her. The breach of the title refers in part to the eruption of violence in the seeming domestic quietude of the Régnier household when Hélène’s (Audran) unstable husband attacks her and their son, sparking a custody battle of an unusually appalling nature.
“One of the key films of the 70s, La rupture is Claude Chabrol's most audacious experiment with narrative form—a modernist reworking of the melodrama.” — Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Chabrol reportedly described the film as belonging to his Fritz Lang period, understandable in “a movie in which innocence and virtue are so hopelessly imperiled” (Vincent Canby); the spirit of Murnau—whom Chabrol named along with Lang as a formative influence—also resonates, particularly in an extended streetcar sequence that echoes Sunrise’s famous trolley ride. Special thanks to Anne Miller and Eric Jausseran of the Consulate of France, Boston. The Paramount’s Claude Chabrol program supplements and screens along with The Murderous Art of Claude Chabrol, a retrospective taking place at the Harvard Film Archive March 11-27.
March 25 @ 9pm
March 26 @ 7pm
Bright Family Screening Room
$10. $7.50 for Members. $5 for Students.
In French with English subtitles