For so long I had been waiting to go on a date to the B.F.I. on Southbank, so this Tuesday has been for me the most exciting of all the Tuesdays so far. It was a proper pretend date. We met in the shop, often I can browse there forever, but somehow this time there was nothing I wanted (except a book about a project undertaken by some Hitchcock fans to watch all his films in order over the course of a year, I’ve picked up that book and the experiment begins today). Then we had drinks in the upstairs bar, and afterwards we had dinner and shared our thoughts on the film. The film was Chabrol’s The Butcher, what better way to enjoy the perfect film date than with the father of the Nouvelle Vague.
The film was originally released in 1970, I don’t know whether it’s format would have been familiar then or not. What I enjoyed was that it was almost an anti horror film. There was no graphic violence, it was a slice of life in an idyllic village and I was sort of entirely predictable. Except that it wasn’t completely predictable whilst you were there, it seemed to obvious a choice for a killer, but then there were no other characters, in fact it raised so many questions that all I could do was go along for the journey. It’s a journey worth going on. There is so much tenstion that develops with long static shots, shots that could be someone’s point of view, but interestingly never turn out to be. I was on the edge of my seat as the protagonist attempts to secure her building and from then on until the ending, which we were gently carried into with a gentle car ride, to draw us out of the story and back to reality. The final dawn shot, is stunningly beautiful and understated. It’s a good, accesible film and it was so great to watch an old print with scratchs and rainy sound, to make it a film with history.