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Extra info for French New Wave (Pocket Essential series)
François spends the evening at the guest house but the following morning he resolves to visit his old friend and rekindle their friendship. ’ Chabrol himself had grown up in the village and his return home from the metropolis, to shoot the picture, offers a striking parallel to François’ journey. Like Les Mistons, the film was made entirely on location, using natural light. It was mainly funded by the inheritance Chabrol received from his first wife. Le Beau Serge is often, and perhaps rather misleadingly, described as the first New Wave film.
Paul invites her in to wait and works hard to put a spanner in the works of Florence’s blossoming relationship with his cousin. Within minutes they are sharing a passionate embrace. Almost as quickly, Florence has moved in, creating an impossible situation for Charles. Watching the opening minutes of Les Cousins as the second half of a double bill with Le Beau Serge (the two are often screened together in repetition), it is hard to believe they came from the same director, let alone that they were made within such a short space of time of each other.
François, on the other hand, arrives at the guest house with neatly43 French New Wave 28/6/05 9:16 am Page 44 CHRIS WIEGAND folded shirts in his suitcase. He dresses like a dandy, and is often seen in polo neck sweaters and wearing a scarf. The stereotypes of the rugged, masculine outdoors type and his reserved, bookish and even prissy opposite are carefully contrived. With its countryside setting, Le Beau Serge may come across as a rather odd New Wave film but Serge’s alcoholism and François’ spiritual crisis and apparent ambivalence to his future, set the template for a disenchanted post-war youth that would reappear in many a New Wave film to follow.
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