Cine Fan: French Claude Chabrol and Korean Kim Ki-young
Why We Recommend it
CineFan’s September-October edition showcases 16 films by two representative directors of thrill – Claude Chabrol (France) and Kim Ki-young (South Korea), reflecting on the dark side of human nature and the dysfunction of the bourgeois.
Hailed as the “French Hitchcock”, Chabrol (1930-2010) first announced himself to the cinematic world with Bitter Reunion (1958) – a film which also marked the beginning of the French New Wave movement. His subsequent The Cousins (1959) further affirmed his talent and his taste for spine-chilling plots, winning him the Berlinale Golden Bear. His celebrated “Hélène Cycle”, including The Third Lover (1962), The Unfaithful Wife (1969), This Man Must Die (1969), The Butcher (1970), The Breach (1970) and Just Before Nightfall (1971)–most of them featuring Chabrol’s then-wife and muse Stéphane Audran–saw him at his creative peak, churning out some of the most tantalising thrillers with charismatic psychological power-plays, sharp social critique and humour.
The French New Wave maestro’s deliriously imaginative vision contrasts sharply with South Korean helmer KIM’s (1919-1998) subtle psychodramas and suspense thrillers. An inventor of inspired and complex human dramas, Kim’s early films such as Yangsan Province (1955) and Goryeojang (1963) already demonstrated his subversiveness against the realism that dominated Korean cinema at the time.
The Housemaid (1960), widely acclaimed as one of the best Korean films ever made, and the subsequent Woman of Fire (1971) and Insect Woman (1972) that made up his “Women Series” exemplify how Kim masterfully probed into human desire and class conflicts in ways never seen in Korean cinema before.
“The Golden Age” brings two more masterpieces from the era: French maestro Jean Renoir’s Hollywood production The Woman on the Beach (1947), and American auteur Joseph Losey’s English production Accident (1967), one of his three acclaimed screen collaborations with Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. Starting with an accident, both films explore obsession, sexual attraction and class politics, featuring performances from stars such as Joan Bennett and Dirk Bogarde.