A pivotal and divisive figure of Forties and Fifties French cinema, Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907 – 1977) made his name as a daring iconoclast through a series of hugely influential, often controversial, films whose stylistic audacity, off-beat humor and stinging critique of bourgeois society were far ahead of their time. Clouzot’s remarkable talent with mystery and thriller narratives earned him the unfortunate yet inevitable sobriquet of the “French Hitchcock” despite the two directors’ notably different approach to suspense and despite Clouzot’s profound influence upon Hitchcock, with Les Diaboliques, for example, openly acknowledged as a model for Psycho. The phenomenal and lasting success of Les Diaboliques and Clouzot’s other best-known film, the gripping action epic The Wages of Fear, continue to overshadow the larger arc of his risk-embracing career and major contributions to cinema. Still little known outside of France, Clouzot’s other films are only gradually being rediscovered, slowly giving way to a fuller understanding of a fiercely original artist able like none other to masterfully intertwine adrenaline-igniting entertainment, trenchant political satire, ribald comedy and heartfelt tragedy.
text from Harvard Film Archive
Our picks from what’s left:
THE RAVEN(1943) 12/9 & 12/11, THE MYSTERY OF PICASSO(1956) 12/11, THE TRUTH(1960) 12/12, DIABOLIQUE(1955) 12/17 & 12/18