Inspector Bellamy: Chabrol’s Final Film, Stylish Thriller

“Inspector Bellamy” is the 50th and final film from the late Claude Chabrol, one of the founders of the French New Wave. 

Born in 1930, he passed away September 12 of this year, at the age of 80.

The movie demonstrates again Chabrol’s interest in the stylish thriller genre, his wry, ironic approach, and his smooth mastery of all of film’s technical properties.
Centering on a police commissioner struggling to balance professional instinct with family duty, “Inspector Bellamy” marks Chabrol’s only collaboration with the French legendary star Gérard Depardieu, who had appeared in several of Chabrol’s colleague, the late Francois Truffaut.
When the tale begins, Paul Bellamy and his wife Françoise (Marie Bunel) are spending their vacation at her family home in a quiet town. But just as they’re settling into their reassuringly predictable holiday routine, Paul’s perennially troubled younger brother (Clovis Cornillac) shows up, followed by a mysterious stranger seeking Bellamy’s protection.
The idea for the film “came from a desire to pay homage to the classic mystery writer Georges Simenon,” Chabrol noted in an interview, “especially in light of the fact that I find Gérard Depardieu to be a deeply Simenonian character himself. I imagined a cop – in the Maigret style, who must lead an investigation, while trying to tackle family problems.”
A former film critic for the influential magazine Cahiers du Cinema, Chabrol was influenced by the Hollywood cinema, specifically the work of Hitchcock. Chabrol virtually launched the New Wave with his first feature, Le Beau Serge in 1958. Most historians consider 1959 as the year in which the French New Wave was born with such masterpieces as Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” and Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima, mon Amour.”
His amazingly prolific career, stretching from “Les Cousins” (also made in 1958) through the penultimate “A Girl Cut in Two” (2008), encompasses 50 features made over five decades, including such landmarks as “Les Bonnes Femmes” (1959), “Les Biches” (1967), “Le Boucher” (1969), “Violette” (1978), “Story of Women” (1988), “La Cérémonie” (1995) and “The Comedy of Power” (2005).