Guy Austin
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Master of Cérémonie
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Claude Chabrol's La Cérémonie can be considered the pinnacle of his career so far. But not only is La Cérémonie a masterful film in its own right, it can also be seen as a compendium of some of the motifs that characterise Chabrol's work as a whole. Above and beyond individual cases, the fait divers as a form can be usefully compared to Chabrol's cinema in general. The film thus functions both as a thriller and, in a political sense, as an illustration of the class war which Chabrol continues to observe in French society. The representation of Sophie, Violette and Julie as variations on the femme fatale is partly dependent on Chabrol's use of the expressionist mise en scène associated with film noir. Ambivalence characterises Chabrol's male characters, for example the noble avenger-cowardly liar Charles in Que la bête meure or the white knight-greedy manipulator Wolf in Masques.

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