Claude Chabrol was a French director born on June 24, 1930, in Creuse, south of Paris. He was a member of the French New Wave group of filmmakers. His contemporaries include the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, who have also been widely associated with the French New Wave.
Always considering himself a country person, Chabrol's father and grandfather had been pharmacists, and so he was expected to follow in the family business. But as a child, he was very interested in cinema and at the age of 14, he developed a liking towards the thriller genre. Right after the Second World War, he moved to Paris to study pharmacology and literature. While living there, Chabrol got involved with the cinema club culture and visited Cinémathèque Française and the Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin often, where he first met future prominent filmmakers such as Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and Jean-Luc Godard. Afterwards, he focused on being a film critic, where he advocated realism both aesthetically and morally. Unlike his contemporaries, Chabrol never made short films nor did he work for other directors as assistant before making his feature film debut. Chabrol and Eric Rohmer co-wrote “Hitchcock” in 1957, which was a study of all the films made by veteran director Alfred Hitchcock.
In 1952, Chabrol married Agnès Goute and his wife inherited a large sum of money, which he used to make his feature directorial debut in 1957, with “Le Beau Serge”. With a budget of $85000, the film immediately received critical praise and was an eventual box office success, also winning the Grand Prix at the Locarno Film Festival and the Prix Jean Vigo. The film had similarities to that of Hitchcock movies, according to the critics, which showed a sign of his inspiration. In 1958, he directed “Les Cousins”, which showed many characters with ambiguous motives, winning the Golden Bear at the 9th Berlin International Film Festival. In 1959, with the two box office hits in a row, Chabrol was provided with a big budget to make his first color film, titled “À Double Tour”. This film however, was a disappointment both critically and at the box office.
In 1968, Chabrol started collaborating with producer André Génovés to make better films which would later be considered his “Golden Era”. Most of his films in this era revolved around bourgeois characters and almost all the time, a murder would be in stock. He made one of his most acclaimed work in 1968, “Les Biches”, which received critical acclaim and was a box office hit. He went on making noteworthy movies throughout the rest of his cinema career. He was first married to Agnes Goute, where he saw the birth of his first son Matthieu Chabrol, who later became a French composer scoring most of Chabrol's films from the early 1980s. He then divorced Agnes, and married Stephane Audran, with whom he had a son, actor Thomas Chabrol. The marriage ended in 1978, after which he married Aurore Paquiss, a script supervisor since 1950s. They had four children together. The great director passed away on September 12, 2010.