Jean Seberg ponders the black boxIt’s been said that you can sometimes determine how much enthusiasm Claude Chabrol had for a film he’s directed by the attention that’s been lavished on the cuisine. Provincial cooking plays an integral part in La Cérémonie, Le Boucher serves lamb metaphorically rare, and pivotal discussions are held over dinner in Ten Days’ Wonder and La Fleur de mal. In La Route de Corinthe (1967), Jean Seberg eats sardines from the can and Maurice Ronet sips beer and nibbles on cold cuts — we’ve obviously hit the low-rent district. New on region-1 DVD (under its cheeky American title, Who’s Got the Black Box?), those skimpy noshes coincide with a feeble scenario about spies hunting for radar jamming devices. Chabrol’s disinterest in James Bondian intrigue is palpable, a lethargy compounded by the miniscule budget that forced most of the action outdoors into the midday sun, the cast trudging dutifully through waterfront shanties and featureless rock quarries. Legend has it that Chabrol doesn’t recall filming his 1976 wreck, Folies bourgeoises (aka The Twist) at all, that it was the byproduct of a week-long drinking binge; La Route de Corinthe suggests that that may not have been an isolated incident. Light-years away from À bout de souffle, Lilith and Bonjour tristesse, Seberg remains a compelling screen presence, even though Jean Rabier’s camera does little to conceal the bruises on the actress’s (and not her character’s) stomach and legs. Her tragic death was just twelve years away. (Pathfinder’s DVD includes a Chabrol biography written by Flickhead.)Buy from AmazonRead about Jean Seberg at tedstrong.com.