French film director, who gained recognition in the 1950s as one of the first directors in the vanguard of the French ‘New Wave’.
Born in Paris into a family of pharmacists, Chabrol originally studied pharmacy, but after completing his military service he began working in Fox's Paris publicity department. After this he became a writer and critic for Arts and Cahiers du Cinéma; in this period he was also coauthor with Eric Rohmer of a critical volume on the work of Hitchcock.
He made his debut as a director with Le Beau Serge (1958), which he financed himself with an inheritance from his first wife, Agnès Goute. When this won the Grand Prix at the Locarno Festival, he was able to set up his own production company, AJYM, through which several other ‘New Wave’ directors, including Jacques Rivette (1928– ) and Philippe de Broca (1933– ), were able to channel their work. Among his own many notable films, chiefly mystery-thrillers, were Les Cousins (1959), which earned him the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Festival, Les Bonnes Femmes (1960), Les Biches (1968), La Femme infidèle (1969), Le Boucher (1970), Les Menteurs (1979), Cop au Vin (1984), and Une Affaire des Femmes (1988). His most recent films include Madame Bovary (1991) and L'Enfer (1994). Stéphane Audran (1938– ), whom he married in 1964, has appeared in several of his films, winning a César Award for her performance in his Violette Nozière (1978).
He has also directed plays, including Macbeth (1964), L'Adieu aux dieux (1980), and Vladimir et les Jacques (1980), as well as several television productions.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).