When the great director Ernst Lubitsch died, a conversation was overheard at his funeral between two younger directors. The first said, sadly, "no more Lubitsch." The second said, "worse... no more Lubitsch pictures." I wonder if people aren't thinking the same thing about Claude Chabrol, the great French New Wave director who passed away last month at the age of 80? Chabrol certainly had his fans, but he was arguably the most underappreciated of all the French New Wavers.
As a film critic for Cahiers du Cinema, Chabrol developed a fondness for Alfred Hitchock and Fritz Lang, and even co-wrote (with Eric Rohmer) a book-length study on Hitchcock. His filmography, consisting of more than 50 films in 50 years, was made up mostly of suspense films. As we know, suspense films are rarely appreciated as works of art, and even though Chabrol was considered a high-class French filmmaker overall, his individual films rarely earned much enthusiasm, since they weren't really "about" anything other than sex and murder.