in Henri-Georges Clouzot
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This chapter deals with the overall contribution of Clouzot as a filmmaker. All of Clouzot's feature films offer painstaking reconstructions of a recognisable social world, ranging from Paris and provincial France in the late nineteenth century and mid-twentieth century to Palestine and Central America. In some cases, the background is sufficiently detailed and accurate for the films to acquire a genuine documentary value, insofar as they offer spectators historical insights into past customs, institutions and periods. Clouzot's command of detail validates his films as social documents. For instance, Clouzot's version of the occupation and liberation in Manon seems far more wide-ranging, authentic and persuasive (precisely because its cynical bleakness captures the spirit of the time) than the romantic melodrama and simplistic heroism offered thirty years later in Truffaut's Le Dernier Métro.


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