CLAUDE CHABROL R.I.P.

The Great Claude Chabrol (1930 - 2010)

This month the world lost a brilliant artist. One of the original of the French New Wave and easily the most commercial of the bunch. Some might think that a sort of slam, but creating commercial films allowed Chabrol to better bring his political and socio-political points of view to the masses. All of his films radiated a subversive, radical and immediate call for change in society as we know it. And, he did this without ever sacrificing the art of cinema.
Early in his career which is filled with over 70 films, he became known as a sort of French Hitchcock with a twist. The suspense of his films is undeniable, but just when you expect the very worst to happen — Chabrol normally replaces “horror” with the simple shock of truth.
The truth of his work and his admiration for exceptional camera work and respect for truly great actors sear into the viewer’s minds. No matter how old his films might be — they hold a still valid mirror to our world. And, that mirror is cracked. Chabrol always seem to identify with the Communist Ideals, but his films were filled with an obvious mistrust of human nature. His characters (and their stories) are always presented for what they are. Seldom are the actions of these characters fully explained. Unlike most filmmakers, Chabrol challenged his audience to think.

The film that put M. Isabelle Huppert on the map and many collaborations would follow...

Interestingly, I think it is his later work starting in the 70’s that fully expressed his gifts as an artist. Unlike most artists, old age did not dim his view of humanity or society. In my opinion some of his final films were his most powerful. It is hard to wipe away the images and off-kilter humor and ultimate horror of these two films:

A severe judgement written in stone. This brutal film may be his finest hour...

Despite the lame US poster, this film explored the pathetic traps our society creates for women...


But, my personal favorite Chabrol film is MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT. Huppert, who seemed to serve as a sort of muse for Chabrol, has never been better cast. And, it is sheer brilliance of the surprise that this quiet little film’s most powerful scene is played at the very tail end of the movie as the credits roll.

Mysterious, comical, slick, sick and a simply perfect film...


There will never be another talent like that of Claude Chabrol. A vital, valid and valuable artist until the very end. He never lost his bite or twisted sense of humor — nor did he ever lose his youthful struggle against the tide of an unjust society/world. If you’re not familiar with his work, you should be. The posters I selected or just a few exceptional examples of his work, but he seldom misfired.

An examination of marriage and the horror of jealousy...

Claude Chabrol Rest In Peace. He will not be forgotten by those of us who love cinema and the power it can generate.

“I’m not pessimistic about people in general, but only about the way they live.”
“I love mirrors. They let one pass through the surface of things.”
Claude Chabrol

Claude Chabrol: A Cinematic Genius...

“I brought the film like a flower to the world.”
Claude Chabrol


September 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

D.I.D. – IF YOU HAVE A TASTE FOR TERROR…

It has been close to a year since three doctors sat down and told me that I have D.I.D. or Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I guess the best definition comes close to the following: DID is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment. In the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems the name for this diagnosis was Multiple Personality Disorder. In both systems of terminology, the diagnosis requires that at least two (but usually more “personalities” or “aspects of a personality” routinely take control of the individual’s behavior with an associated memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness.

The terms are always changing it seems. It’s not like SYBIL or anything you might have seen displayed in movies or on TV — tho, The United States of Tara comes close to being realistic in the goofiest and silliest way possible. I think only 2% of those diagnosed with DID display the level of personality shifts as shown in that program.

Toni Collette in The United States of Tara...

The goal of this show is to take a very difficult real mental illness and get some laughs out of the situation. My opinion on the show varies from time to time. Everything in life can be funny, but sometimes when you’re working through something there is absolutely nothing funny to be found in it. Still, I do find it somehow uplifting that this show offers hope and humor. And, of course, sometimes all you can do is laugh.

I’ve hinted about this on my blog from time to time, but I think this is the first time I’ve actually written directly about it. I’ve decided to own it. And, I miss blogging. The problem is that the vast amount of my time is spent working through this disorder to over come it. To get my life back.

Of course this always begs the question – have I ever had my life in full or in parts? Over the course of this hardcore therapy which now includes hypno-therapy I’ve discovered that I’ve been losing time (or switching) most of my life. This explains a lot. For years and years I’ve wondered why, with my exceptional memory, I am often “cloudy” on certain spans of time or actions I’ve taken. And, all those torn out pages from my journals over the years. Or things I did at work but couldn’t recall except through the covert gathering of information from others. The funny thing is that I never once questioned these losses of time. I simply plowed forward with little or no thought.

A sort of fuzzy “re-boot” of my mind without owning it.

This all started at the time I was abused as a child. What the psyche can’t handle the brain tries to find ways to distill it so that the psyche survives. Survival is the name of the game. And, oddly, that has always been my motto. …”I am a survivor!” …I can deal. …I can wing it. …I will succeed no matter what. …And, I always have. But, with great costs.

Like most men with DID it wasn’t until my 30’s that things started going haywire and I couldn’t fully deal or hide the confusion. The stress of a big career, relationships, the issue of the abuse I suffered — all of which I do remember–, and the changes of hormones in the body resulted in everything coming to a thudding crash in late 2008.

I lost my newly found and beloved job here in San Francisco as I attempted to understand exactly what was wrong with me. As my partner helped me cope and we went from one doctor to another — the first great therapist I found recognized the problem almost immediately. However, my condition was a little beyond her experience as a doctor. She slyly referred me to another doctor who had served as her mentor. As it turns out this doctor is a god send for me. She has been working with DID relating to men for over 25 years.

I guess it took me well over six months to fully accept that I was dealing with DID, but I accept it now.

I’ve taken a series of tests and it looks like I have a very good chance of defeating DID and coming to what they call a form of “integration” in which these fragments of my psyche can merge back into one. You see they are not “personalities” — there is only one mind and one personality. These are ways the mind found to deal with the pain and horrors that were too much for me to fully accept on certain levels. They are aspects of me that take over to protect me. As one gets older it catches up with you because these aspects are forever stuck in a limited emotional state the trauma created. They are irrational and unable to react in logical ways to every day challenges of stress. But, the mind is so wired at this point that when certain situations trigger panic — the “appropriate” aspect takes over and I involuntarily take a back seat as the aspect gets through the situation.

Of course I face no danger now. In fact, I haven’t faced any real danger since I was about 9 years old. But, the aspects do not get that. So, now, I spend three to four hours a week with a doctor trying to understand what each aspect is worried about — in addition to my own worries.

Confusion has become my operative mode of conduct.

When B and I went to Manhattan last week I was terrified I would “switch” and do God Knows What — however, luckily, I only “switched” twice. Of course this resulted in a couple of odd situations. Monday, I found myself on a concrete pier of the Hudson River somewhere near W67th Street. And, I had only $10 in my wallet. Guess who got to walk all the way back to W23th and 7th Ave! Fun! My legs are still sore.

But, I try to think of it as a sort of an twist of adventure in my life. And, I like to remind myself that I have not failed in my one quest — which has always been to never lead an ordinary or dull life. Tho, the time away from working is deflating and being dependent upon Social Security Disability and Medicare is so devastating to me — I am quite blessed that the support was so quickly approved. I have a home, a love who cares for me, a family and great friends who support me and I will get through this.

However, that doesn’t make it any less scary when I might be at my computer one minute and then find myself in a place I do not know around people who appear to know me the next. And, then realize that it has been several hours since I was actually at the computer.

I keep coming back to one thought. Once I do beat this — and no one is willing to put a time line to it — but it sounds like I’m looking at a couple years of tough mental work — I figure there must be a book in this some way some how. I’m not the only one dealing with this disorder and there are so many dealing with it who probably do not even realize it or are too afraid to face it.

Maybe in some way I can help them. Maybe. Fingers crossed.

September 16, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 11 comments.