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RIEN NE VA PLUS

France, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Claude Chabrol

Victor and Betty - masterfully played by French screen mainstays Michel Serrault and Isabelle Huppert - are an odd couple peddling one of the oldest scams in the con artist's manual. Checking into luxury hotels, the alluring Betty cosies up to a wealthy looking mark, accompanies him to his room and then slips him a mickey. After robbing their dupe they continue on their criminal journey across France by caravan.

One of Victor's rules of thumb is not to fleece a victim of too much, the reasoning being that suitably affluent prey will be more embarrassed than outraged and not pursue the thieves or notify the police. During a brief holiday Maurice enters the picture and it is debatable whether Betty is still playing by Victor's rules or looking for greener pastures. When it is revealed that Maurice is involved in a scheme to net five million francs, a fresh adventure leads the unlikely trio to the Caribbean.

The precise relationship between these two strange frauds is, purposely, never clarified throughout the film. This is part of the game that a director as skilled as Chabrol can play with a script. In addition to the highly proficient performances it is the pleasure that the two leads take in the sharp dialogue as well as Chabrol's impish and playfully nasty, Hitchcock-style tone that make the film such a delight.

Colourful, energetic, both comic and suspenseful, Rien Ne Va Plus is the work of a seasoned director who can still muster the vigour and imagination to create fine cinema after more than 40 years in the game.

French cinema veteran Claude Chabrol was born in Paris, 1930. Initially working as a writer and critic for Cahiers du Cinema, Chabrol has been incredibly prolific since his 1958 debut with Le Beau Serge. He has in excess of 50 features to his credit as well as television films and mini series. Amongst the director's more prominent and celebrated works are Les Cousins (1959), Bluebeard (1963), Le Scandal (1967), Les Biches (1968), Wedding in Blood (1973), Docteur M (1989) and Madam Bovary (1991).

See also...

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AVIDA

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The cinema of the absurd finds new champions in the form of directors Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern. When a deaf-mute dog handler's employer falls victim to his own paranoia, the dog … More »

GIRL CUT IN TWO, A

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“You can sense [Claude] Chabrol's wicked grin behind the camera in every sense… the master shows that he has lost none of his youthful energy.” - Toronto International Film Festival ... En… More »

KILLER

France, Italy, 1969
The crushed body of a nine-year-old boy is found in a village street, the victim of a hit-and-run driver. His father, a lonely widower of 35, has lost all that was most dear to him. He is an author o… More »

JUST BEFORE NIGHT

France, 1971
Claude Chabrol describes Just Before Night as "the story of a man who kills someone, and then finds out he himself is dead". In it, he created a psychological drama which begins when Charles, the cen… More »

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