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A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.
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Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.
Barbara Bel Geddes,
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
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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