French Cinema: Times of War 1938 - 1943
23 – 28 February
Le jour se lève
France, 1938, 93’, Black & white
Director: Marcel Carné
Script: Jacques Prévert
Cast: Jean Gabin, Jacqueline Arletty, Jules Berry
In a Parisian building, after a stormy debate between two men, a shot rings out. The victim leaves the apartment and dies shortly after. The abuser refuses to surrender to police. His home is under siege. During the night, until the police assault, he recalls the events that preceded the tragedy. First, his encounter with Françoise, a young and pretty flowerist ...This last film of Marcel Carné’s before the war broke out with a pessimistic prophecy, represents the culmination of the film studio where everything is restored, measured to the millimeter to produce the desired emotion. It also announces the importance of the flash-back and the reign of "poetic Franch realism" where the American film-noirs were greatly influenced.
The Rules of the Game
La règle du jeu
France, 1939, 110’, black & white
Yönetmen / Director: Jean Renoir
Oyuncular / Cast / Avec: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Mila Parély, Roland Toutain
On the eve of World War II, a count organizes a hunting party during a weekend that degenerates into crossover love between masters and servants' ‘Fancy drama’ the way of the Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais; the rule of the game is an array of manners without mercy and without hope, where masters and servants compete in cynicism and cruelty. A comedy that turns inexorably into tragedy, where rabbits are slaughtered in the countryside, the film does not exactly foreshadow the spring of 1940, but more so reflects the shift of the stupid violence of society into deceitfulness. “The end of the world is near, at least the end of the world”, says this tragi-comedy. Misunderstood when released for the first time, the film was subjected to bans but was rediscovered and acclaimed by film lovers after the war and is now regarded as the masterpiece of Jean Renoir.
It Happened at the Inn
Goupi Mains Rouges
France, 1942, 104’, black & white
Director: Jacques Becker
Cast: Fernand Ledoux, Georges Rollin, Blanchette Brunoy, Robert Le Vigan
In the village Charentes live the Goupi of four generations, who don’t always get on very well, but cope with each nonetheless. The grandfather dies one night, and this becomes a drama because he alone knows the whereabputs of the family treasure. Who did it? In addition, the old Tisane is found murdered in the woods. This new death coincides with the arrival of Eugene; the young man's family moved to Paris and summoned by his father wants to marry his cousin Lily .Jacques Becker creates plot-rich ramifications of all kinds, a dozen complex characters, which he composes with irony, passion, quirkiness, the bizarre and strange humaneness. One of the few films on the life of peasants during the occupation.
France, 1943, 93’, black & white
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cast: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Pierre Larquey
"A small town, here or elsewhere" ... in a short time a thousand anonymous letters signed "The Raven" arrives, the letters are passed onto the city’s notable citizens. They stir drama, fights, suicide, confinement, murder. A masterpiece of French cinema, The crow was also one of the films of the Vichy-cinema - films made under the German occupation- the most controversial type. It caused a profound shock to the public and critics because of its obvious break away from the type of films made before the war. The ferocity of social analysis, restitution of the fierce climate, of fear and denunciation of the time; here the film exposes a cold, raw, completely devoid of irony storytelling. Produced by the German firm Continental, The crow shook up the idealism "resistance" that was banned after the Liberation as anti-French and Clouzot suffered a work ban that lasted more than two years.