Henri-Georges Clouzot: The Cinema of Disenchantment

1/12/12 to 2/4/12

French director Henri-Georges Clouzot's virtuosic way with suspense-in acclaimed thrillers such as Diabolique and Wages of Fear, among others-earned him the title “French Hitchcock.” But his gripping films, often tinged with sardonic humor, had a hard-edged realism born of the pessimism of war-torn France. “Whereas Hitchcock's pictures tend to be set . . . in the world of archetypes, Clouzot always seems bent on recreating life itself with all its contradictions” (Luc Sante).

Read full description
  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Past

Past Films

  • The Mystery of Picasso

    • Saturday, February 4 5:30 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1956). Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this colorful documentary glimpse of the seventy-five-year-old Picasso captures the fecund nature of his creative process, a spontaneous revelation of form in continual transformation. “One of the most exciting and joyful movies ever made” (Pauline Kael). (78 mins)

  • Woman in Chains

    • Friday, February 3 8:50 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1968). Clouzot's final foray into features takes us into another tortured love triangle to explore voyeurism and, by extension, the very gaze that so draws us to cinema. The girlfriend of a kinetic artist is drawn into the circle of a gallery owner/S&M photographer, with some perversely kinky results. (105 mins)

  • La vérité

    • Thursday, February 2 7 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1960) Clouzot directed from the hip with this inquiring look at youth culture of early sixties Paris, well aided by the anything-but-bashful Brigitte Bardot, who stars as a sexually liberated Left Banker who seeks aimless amusements to delay the gloom of contemporary life. (130 mins)

  • The Spies

    • Sunday, January 29 6:30 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1958). A Cold War espionage thriller set in a dilapidated psychiatric clinic, with Peter Ustinov as a Lithuanian klepto and Sam Jaffe as a Shakespeare-spouting operative. Identities shift, loyalties lapse, and paranoia spirals out of control. (137 mins)

  • Diabolique

    • Friday, January 27 8:40 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1955). Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot star as two women who join together to off a callous schoolmaster, with some unnerving results, in Clouzot's masterful thriller. Matches, and possibly surpasses, the best of Hitchock. “Satisfying, elegant, and nasty” (Guardian). (107 mins)

  • The Wages of Fear

    • Saturday, January 21 8:10 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1953). Four desperate men are hired by a ruthless oil company to drive trucks filled with explosives across a mountainous South American country in one of the toughest noirs ever filmed. Yves Montand stars. “A white-knuckled introduction to the concept of action-movie existentialism” (Slant). (147 mins)

  • Miquette and Her Mother

    • Friday, January 20 9 pm

    Miquette et sa mère). Clouzot sets aside his signature cynicism for this wistfully light comedy, based on a turn-of-the-century play. The delightful Danièle Delorme stars as a sheltered young woman with ambitions to become an actress, but who finds herself in a sou-less theater troupe. A bubbly “boulevard comedy.” (93 mins)

  • Manon

    • Wednesday, January 18 7:00 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1949). Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Manon tracks two lovers-a prostitute and a Resistance fighter-who flee the French backwaters for Paris. A scornful vision of postwar France as a moral quagmire, not the promised utopia. (90 mins)

  • Quai des Orfèvres

    • Saturday, January 14 6:30 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1947). Set in the smoky halls of Paris's midforties cabaret scene, this naughty noir follows the voluptuous Jenny Martineau (Suzy Delair, Clouzot's paramour at the time), a chanteuse whose star is beginning to soar until a murder is committed. “Noir at its soul-destroying best” (Los Angeles Times). (110 mins)

  • Le corbeau

    • Saturday, January 14 8:45 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1943). Classic film noir dealing with the effect on a small town of an outbreak of poison-pen letters. Within the thriller format, director Clouzot conducts a study of group psychology in a mood of all-embracing suspicion. (93 mins)

  • The Murderer Lives at Number 21

    • Thursday, January 12 7 pm

    Henri-Georges Clouzot (France, 1942). Clouzot's debut feature is a remarkably self-assured murder mystery starring the great French actor Pierre Fresnay as a debonair detective. Filmed during the Nazi Occupation of France. (84 mins)