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Marie wants to escape from her job and also from her lover, Paul, an unemployed drunk. She dreams of going off with Jean, a dockworker. The two men quarrel and fight over Marie on two occasions, but Paul retains a hold over her. Marie has a baby who falls ill and as time goes on Jean and a crippled neighbor try to help the child. Paul nearly causes the death of the child whilst in a drunken stupor and in a final struggle that occurs, the crippled woman seizes Paul's gun and shoots him dead. Written by
One great benefit of watching many films is experiencing them conversing with each other. Some anticipate others, some quibble, some steal, inspire, annotate. Epstein's "Coeur fidèle" (1923) enriches one of my favourite films, Vigo's "L'Atalante" (1934), which in turn enriches Epstein's film tremendously. Both move in a dreamlike world of incessant flowing of breathtaking images that are able to fill whole movies with their individual stories. Both see love in highly cinematic terms, something which I've most recently encountered in Wong's "Fa yeung nin wa" (2000) and Malick's "The New World" (2005). I also find some Epstein in Kaurismäki, as well.
There are so many unique moments of delight it's impossible to list them all. The first few minutes of exposition are masterful in how they paint the atmosphere, the characters, the visual mood of the film in so short a time. Characters sift out of focus and into focus again, Epstein's eye catches an object, a moment not directly pertaining to what's happening but where it's happening and how. The impression is so strong I'm not going to get this out of my head for a long time. And I don't want to.
The film has been released on Blu-ray (Region B) by the Masters of Cinema series, whose transfer is breathtaking.
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