LE BEAU SERGE (1958) B/W 97m dir: Claude Chabrol
w/Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Bernadette Lafont, Edmond Beauchamp, Michele Meritz, Jeanne Perez, Claude Cerval, Andre Dino
This film is generally regarded as the first film of the French New Wave. The New Wave movement, over the next few years, produced films (such as Francois Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS, Jean-Luc Godard's BREATHLESS, and Alain Resnais' HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR) that exposed the "invisible" style of storytelling of the classic period. LE BEAU SERGE concerns a young man, Francois, who returns to a provincial French village and takes up again with his childhood friend, Serge, who has fallen on hard times.
From Georges Sadoul's Dictionary of Films: "Produced on a low budget in natural settings in Sardent (Creuse), a village that Chabrol knew well, Le Beau Serge was his first and remains his best film. Major sequences: Francois' arrival in the village and his first sight of Serge; the free-for-all at the dance; the discussion in the snow with Serge and Yvonne; the dramatic finale in the depth of a winter night when Francois goes through his personal Calvary."
From The Movie Guide: "... 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. ... LES COUSINS, a companion piece to LE BEAU SERGE that also starred Brialy and Blain, appeared the following year to an equally enthusiastic reception."