The Associated Press is reporting that French director Claude Chabrol, one of the godfathers of the French New Wave, has died at the age of 80. Like others in the movement, Chabrol served as an influential critic at Cahiers Du Cinema prior to turning to filmmaking. Chabrol's 1958 feature Le Beau Serge, released a year before Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows and two years before Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless ushered in what would come to be known as the New Wave. Though his New Wave associates would achieve greater worldwide fame than Chabrol, he remained one France's most prolific, and reliably interesting, directors both during the New Wave and after its end. Chabrol worked at a Woody Allen-like pace, often drawing on the work of lifelong idol Alfred Hitchcock for inspiration and on his own distaste for middle-class hypocrisy and complacency for his subject matter. (Even late efforts like 1995's La Cérémonie maintained a power to stir controversy and discussion.) Chabrol's final film, the Gérard Depadieu-starring Bellamy, hit French theaters last year.
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