Pépé le Moko is a gangster from Paris that hides in Algier's Casbah. In the Casbah, he is safe and is able to elude the police's attempts to capture him. But he misses his freedom, after ... See full summary »
A French farce set in Victorian London where a botanist and his wife get into trouble when they pretend to go missing in order to hide from their sanctimonious cousin -- an Anglican bishop who is leading a campaign against such writing.
At the end of the 15th century, two minstrels Gilles and Dominique come from nowhere into the castle of Baron Hugues. Gilles charms Anne, Hughes' daughter, while Dominique charms both ... See full summary »
During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress... See full summary »
In this little Provencal village, a new baker, Aimable, settles down. His wife Aurelie is beautiful and much younger than he. She departs with a shepherd the night after Aimable produces ... See full summary »
A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin. They want to die together, but after having shooted at Renee, Pierre ... See full summary »
Francois, a sympathetic factory worker, kills Valentin with a gun. He locked himself in his furnished room and starts remembering how he was led to murder. He met once Francoise, a young fleurist, and they fell in love. But Francoise was gotten round by Valentin, a dog trainer, a machiavellian guy... Written by
This film was released in June 1939, only a year before France's surrender to the Nazis, who subsequently occupied the country. Although this film has no overt political content, according to film scholar Roy Armes, the scene in which the crowd on the street below expresses solidarity with the trapped François - which he rejects, shouting that he only wants to be left alone - reflected the political despair of the period, "a chilling epilogue to a brief period which had opened with the enthusiasms aroused by the Popular Front." [French Cinema, Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 102] In validation of this view, the government of Vichy (unoccupied France) shortly afterwards banned the film as "demoralizing," as if it had been partly responsible for France's defeat. See more »
You're the type women fall in love with . . . I'm the type that interests them.
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What is it about French films that makes them so special?
There is something so lyrical about the tale of the doomed François portrayed by the great Jean Gabin that even in its hardest luck moments you feel you are watching poetry in motion.
In addition, Le Jour se Leve is a character study with all the contradictions that tend to go with pained souls like François' - except that there is a further depth that renders the film quite universal, a depth made of little moments in human relationships and the flaws that gently emerge but only renders the humans involved more endearing.
Still, all that glitters is not gold: the apparently pure Françoise has actually been bedded by M. Valentin (Berry); and the police are more interested in getting their man than in saving him.
The direction is precise and inspired, resorting to the then much used flashback technique but never allowing it to dominate the film.
The photography - well, it is gorgeous and it gives the film its expressionistic ambiance. Finally, Gabin - one of the greatest actors ever in one of his greatest roles. Need one say more?
The ending can be predicted from the moment François kills a visitor in his apartment but that aside it is a film full of cinematographic treasures, acting to gape at, and a quality of direction that is seldom seen these days. A must see for anyone who cares about movies.
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