Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »
Life's a rotten business, says Jean, a deserter who arrives at night in Le Havre, looking to leave the country. He lucks into civilian clothes, a little bit of money, a passport, and a dog, and he also meets Nelly, a 17-year-old who's grown up too fast. She's the object of lust of men: including a boyfriend Maurice, her putative protector Zabel, and Lucien, a local hood. Jean falls for her, faces down Lucien, and gives her courage to stand on her own feet. A ship is leaving for Venezuela; can at least one of them be on it, or is that just a dream? Written by
The version I watched is the one released in 2004 on Criterion. This comes with a 30-page booklet with an essay by Luc Sante and an excerpt from Marcel Carne's autobiography. The DVD has a very clear picture and crisp sound. I found the story quite interesting and was impressed by each the actors. There is one scene which makes use of classical music during a moment of violence. It made me think of a movie made much later, Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. PORT OF SHADOWS is about degrees of violence. The adolescent thugs who terrorize the little port city of Le Havre have no idea of what is hidden in the lives of the two protagonists: A soldier who has deserted the army after going through something unspeakable in Tonkin and the urbane middle-aged man who has had enough of losing. I think the inevitability of the events in this movie bothers many people who have reviewed it on this database. It doesn't bother me.
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