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Film / Le Beau Serge

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Le Beau Serge (meaning "Handsome Serge") is a 1958 French film directed by Claude Chabrol, starring Gérard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, and Bernadette Lafont.

François (Brialy) is recovering from tuberculosis. He comes back to his native village to take a rest. Serge (Blain), who was his best friend, is now an alcoholic who lives with a woman he does not love. François decides to help him. At the same time, he is attracted to Marie (Lafont), Yvonne's sister.

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Le Beau Serge provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Both Serge and his father-in-law Glomaud are constantly drunk. Justified in the case of Serge by the fact that he had great expectations and he was disappointed.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Serge is married to Yvonne, but he does not love her. Their life is awful: he is nasty to her, he is constantly drunk and he often does not come back home.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In the end, Serge is delighted because her wife gave birth to a healthy baby. This seems to solve all his problems.
  • Beard of Sorrow: After being beaten by Serge at the ball, François locks himself in his room during several days and he grows a beard.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Glomaud has a heart attack the same night as Yvonne gives birth.
  • Crapsack World: The life in the village is boring. The people are poor. The land is barren. It snows a lot. The people have no hope and no morality.
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  • Creator Cameo: The director, Claude Chabrol, appears in one scene. He plays La Truffe, a guy from the village who got rich thanks to an inheritance.
  • Death of a Child: Serge and Yvonne's child had Down's Syndrome and died soon after his birth.
  • A Friend in Need: The priest tells François that he should go away, but François wants to stay in the village to help his friend Serge. In the end, he puts his health in danger to help Serge and his wife.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Implied. François is recovering from tuberculosis. In the end, he takes a walk in the cold to help Serge and he starts coughing. The priest and the doctor compare him to Jesus Christ, because he puts his own health in danger to help Serge. So, it is implied that he is going to die from tuberculosis, even if his death is not showed.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Implied. François is recovering from tuberculosis. In the end, he takes a walk in the cold to help Serge and he starts coughing. The priest and the doctor compare him to Jesus Christ, because he puts his own health in danger to help Serge. So, it is implied that he is going to die from tuberculosis, even if his death is not showed.
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  • Jaded Washout: Serge was a brilliant student and he had many projects. He had sex with Yvonne. He was forced to marry her because she was pregnant. The baby had Down's Syndrome and died. Now he is an alcoholic and he works as a truck driver.
  • Messianic Archetype: François wants to help his friend Serge, who has become a very unpleasant alcoholic guy. Finally, he puts his own health in danger to get a doctor for Yvonne and to bring Serge home. He is implied to die in the end. Both the priest and the doctor explicitly compare him to Jesus Christ.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: At the ball, Serge beats the crap out of François, who is left unconscious on the ground.
  • One Night Stand Pregnancy: The baker tells François that Serge slept only once with Yvonne and Yvonne got pregnant, so Serge had to marry her.
  • The One Who Made It Out: François managed to leave his native village. He studies in a big city and plans to get rich soon.
  • Parental Incest: Glomaud rapes Marie after François tells him that she is not his daughter (Glomaud raised her as his daughter, but he discovers that he is not her biological father).
  • Rape as Drama: Glomaud discovers that he is not the biological father of Marie. He has lusted after her for years, so he rapes her. François is horrified when he hears it and he goes after Glomaud. He catches him in the cemetery, but he does not dare to beat him.
  • Really Gets Around: The owner of the inn says that Marie has many lovers. She seduces François as soon as she meets him. She confesses that she slept with Serge too. During the ball, she flirts with Serge because François does not want to dance with her.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Serge had to marry Yvonne, even if he did not love her, because he impregnated her.
  • Sibling Triangle: Serge is married to Yvonne, but he has an affair with her sister Marie.
  • Small Town Boredom: The baker tells François that the life in the village is boring.
  • Snow Means Death: Implied. François, who is recovering from tuberculosis, starts coughing in the snow. By the end of the film, he seems to be seriously ill.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: François comes back to his native village. The people have changed a lot. His best friend, who was a brilliant student, is now an alcoholic. François is struck by the fact that the inhabitants have no hope and no morality.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Glomaud discovers that he is not the biological father of Marie. He has lusted after her for years, so he rapes her.

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