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Film Series: Focus on Clouzot

This film series explores the life and work of avant-garde French Master of thriller: Henri-Georges Clouzot. While many of Clouzot’s films have enjoyed considerable success, some have also been fraught with controversy. The haunting ubiquity of themes like pessimism, deception, betrayal and violent death, his taste for the morbid and villainous, the tyranny he exerted on his actors and crew and his ties with a German-controlled French film production company during the Occupation made of him a persona which was at the same time disturbing, frightening and intriguing. His style, reflecting on the darkest side of humanity, inspired contemporaries like Alfred Hitchcock and, furthermore, future generations of directors.

As part of this film series, the Cultural services of the French Embassy present two of Clouzot’s critically acclaimed films and one documentary on his life.

Le Scandale Clouzot by Pierre-Henri Gibert
2017  France – 60 min
January 8 | 7:00 p.m.

In directing The Wages of Fear, Diabolique, and Quai des Orfèvres, Henri-Georges Clouzot proves to be a master of suspense who knows how to make the quirks of human neuroses into pure spectacle. Be it that Clouzot has influenced many major contemporary filmmakers like William Friedkin and Steven Spielberg, Clouzot remains under-represented in France. A remarkably written documentary, rich with rare archives, the film includes unpublished testimonies from renowned actors such as Bernard Blier, Suzy Delair, Brigitte Bardot as well as Clouzot’s brother, Jean. This is an inquiry into a true legend of French cinema, exploring with reflection the works of the master as well as his dark side.

The Murderer Lives at Number 21 by Henri-Georges Clouzot​
1942 –
France – 84 min
January 22 | 7:00 p.m.

Inspector Wenceslas "Wens" Vorobeychik is assigned the case of a serial killer who leaves a calling card with the name “Monsieur Durand” on his victims. With the help of his mistress, a struggling actress named Mila Malou, who is determined to get some publicity for herself, the investigation is launched. Learning that the murderer is one of the eccentric tenants of a boarding house at 21 Avenue Junot, Wens takes a room in the guise of a Protestant minister and quickly arrests a group of suspects. However, while the suspects are in jail, there is another Durand murder.

Diabolique by Henri-Georges Clouzot​
1955 – France – 117 min
Febuary 5  | 7:00 p.m.

A second-rate boarding school in Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, in the Paris metropolitan area, is run by the tyrannical and mean Michel Delassalle. His wife and mistress, rather than being mutually ambivalent, have a somewhat close relationship rooted in their shared hatred of Mr. Delassalle. Unable to stand his mistreatment and abuse any longer, the two women join forces in a Machiavellian plan to murder Michel, trying to cover up their deed as an accident. Everything goes well but one detail, Michel's corpse is nowhere to be found.

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