IMDb > The Little Match Girl (1928)

The Little Match Girl (1928) More at IMDbPro »La petite marchande d'allumettes (original title)

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Release Date:
8 June 1928 (France) See more »
An impoverished girl tries to sell matches on NYE. Shivering with cold and unable to sell her wares, she sits in a sheltered nook. Striking a match to keep warm, she sees things in the flame. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Light up your life See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Jean Renoir 
Jean Tédesco 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Hans Christian Andersen  story
Jean Renoir  writer

Cinematography by
Jean Bachelet 
Art Direction by
Erik Aaes 


Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La petite marchande d'allumettes" - France (original title)
See more »
40 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, dances a small duet as a toy soldier in this film. She had studied under Isadora Duncan's eccentric brother Raymond.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Little Match Girl (1954)See more »


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Light up your life, 27 September 2007
Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK

A very stylish outing from Jean Renoir spun from a simple children's fable from Andersen into something even simpler but memorably bleak as well.

The little match girl of the title is not so little here in the beautiful Catherine Hessling giving a mesmerising performance for Renoir, who filmed her lovingly in soft or blurred focus throughout. The story moves logically from trying to sell matches to live to trying to light them to live, in between with a child-like pressed nose to a café then a toy shop's window to living the dream while freezing to death in the snow. When your time's up even sheltering from the falling snow under a single plank can be taken away from you. There's some great low-key fancy camera and set trickery in the toy shop dream sequence such as Karen dancing in slo-mo through nets, and lovely smoky visuals especially the life and death chase through the sky. It can sometimes remind you of a silent pop video - the crew must had have fun piecing it all together!

Although it doesn't say as much for human determination as Passion of Joan of Arc from the same year (what could!), I've always found anything by Renoir to be highly enjoyable, educational and a salutary lesson in how to make art not Art movies.

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