Several people I spoke to very recently were open about not only their lack of knowledge of French film-maker Henri-Georges Clouzot, but also that they had seen hardly any of his films – a couple claimed they had seen zero. What?! To aid those in a similar basket as they follow the latest Directors’ Weekend, here are 3 absolute essentials, all available to stream as follows:
Le salaire de la peur / The Wages of Fear (1953)
Atmospheric from the get-go, the penetrating heat, and then the lure and danger of a big job, The Wages of Fear puts you in harm’s way as the viewer. Not only a dramatic, unforgettable benchmark of cinema, this is one of the greatest movies of all time, period.
Les diaboliques / Diabolique (1955)
Genuinely calculating, chilling and always compelling, the conspiring thriller is an intelligent, gutsy punch from Clouzot. There’s even a disclosure at the film’s final credits, imploring you not to tell your friends the plot turns here, for you may spoil it. A marvel.
La Vérité / The Truth (1960)
A finely tuned, impeccable drama, part courtroom, part love story, focusing on the murder trial of Dominique who shoots her lover. The crime itself takes a second gear to the true motive, while movie starlet Brigitte Bardot is incredible here, stealing the show.
That’s right, it is free on Mubi. You have no excuses. I cannot emphasize the must-see status of these three (and there are several more gems from Clouzot a little trickier to access) – see as many as you can and comment below.