|When Claude Chabrol died last month, you may have heard the sound, even felt the sense of a huge wave finally ebbing at last. (Funny that Mr. Eastwood has graced us with his own big wave so soon Hereafter.) Unless I'm forgetting someone, La Nouvelle Vague has but three filmmakers remaining alive: Agnes Varda, Jacques Rivette and Jean-Luc Godard.|
I wish that INSPECTOR BELLAMY (first seen in New York almost two years ago as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Rendez-vous with French Cinema) were one of this master's better works, since it will be the final one we'll see. (Chabrol, shown at right, made a French TV series this past year, but it is unlikely that America will be graced with that.) Though nowhere near his best, the film is still good enough to please his fans and is worth seeing, especially for its cast and their performances. Of the French New Wave directors, no one has achieved the output -- in terms of total running time -- as Chabrol. At 80 years old, he had made 72 films (mostly theatrical, some for TV). While Godard, who's the same age, is on record for 93 outings, many of these are not full-length. Eric Rohmer, who also died this past year, had made 51, while Rivette, who's 81, has made only 32 (but his are often long). Each of the men and Varda who make (and made) up the group of directors often associated with the New Wave are/were so spectacularly different in their style and interests, that it's no wonder, taken together, they were able to point movies in a new direction.
|Fortunately, the film has two stories going on at once, one mirroring the other in terms of emotional landscape. Depardieu's inspector has a no-account brother (Clovis Cornillac, shown above) who comes for a visit, wreaking his own havoc on the people around him, just as the "criminal," played by the ever sleek and sophisticated Jacques Gamblin, above, with toothbrush) is doing to those around him. This provides the emotional core of the movie and accounts for its working as well as it does. What looks initially like a old-fashioned nod to the portly, clever detective (Depardieu is carrying a lot of weight these days) is, in fact, a messy upheaval of raw, often repressed and mostly unresolved jealousy and anger within people who have barely begun to explore themselves, even as they are creating problems -- and worse -- for those around them.|
Via IFC Films, Inspector Bellamy opens this Friday, October 29, at IFC Center. Surprisingly enough, I notice no IFC On-Demand showings for this one. Maybe later...