Claude Chabrol • Director
The unsavoury underbelly of the Middle Class
- Nouvelle Vague master Claude Chabrol's look at the middle class, starring Nathalie Baye and Bénoît Magimel
La fleur du mal by Claude Chabrol is a look at sixty years of the middle class: an authentic Greek tragedy of incest, murder and betrayal, from the German occupation to the present day. "I make films about the middle class because I think it’s the only social class still in existence, " said the director. Chabrol put together a cast that includes Nathalie Baye, Benoît Magimel, Suzanne Flon and Chabrol’s son, Thomas. Claude Chabrol thinks it is natural to ask questions about the middle-class environment: "It’s the ruling class and it’s both ridiculous and interesting. It has no problem whatsoever with criticism. It accepts everything and its only worry is to hang on to power. "
You were inspired by a poem by Baudelaire for the title of this film...
"The title is the only link between poetry and the film. But after seeing the film, it will never occur to anyone to link the poem to the film. I simply stole the title. It works. And I think it’s a great title. "
You cast several members of your family...
"This is a film about the family. I too am a nepotist. I used to be called the Breznev of French cinema. The cast includes my wife, one of my daughters and my sons Mathieu, who wrote the music and Thomas, who acts in it. Quite complicated really, but if you make a film about the family you have to work with your relations. All the people who have a part in this film are, to some degree, also members of my family."
What is your opinion of the French film industry?
"I think that we should distinguish between making films and the industry. A number of serious problems are afflicting the industry and some people have behaved quite appallingly. The majority of producers was damaged. As for the artistic quality of our films, I believe that over the last five years we have seen the emergence of some interesting personalities. "
What are your forthcoming projects?
"I think I’ll make another film before the year is out and hope to work in a joyous atmosphere with the people I love. "
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