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 ...
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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 Hugues and Ann's fiance. Gilles and Dominique are not really in love : they are sent by the Devil to desperate people. But Ann is so pure that Gilles is caught to his own trap... How will they fight against the Devil ? Written by
This was the fifth of the six Great films directed by Marcel Carne between 1937 & 1945, again with writing collaboration from Jacques Prevert, and perhaps the most neglected. So much so I've yet to see a good print, my latest one from French TV seems to have horses galloping (albeit softly) throughout the soundtrack while the film seems to have been bashed about a bit. Never mind; Carne's career was littered with excellent films but Visiteurs was one of his best - maybe it's best seen now without thinking of metaphorical allusions to the then resistance against the Nazis (except as a piece de resistance?) And the best was still a few years off: the utter magnificence of Les Enfants Du Paradis.
France 1485: shady Gilles (square jawed Cuny) and Dominique (worldly wise Arletty) arrive at Baron Hugues castle as melancholic minstrels intent on disrupting the marriage preparations going on as any self respecting devilish envoy would. Alas it goes awry for Gilles when he actually does fall in love with Anne the Baron's daughter (Dea) but Arletty manages to keep to her usual cynical straight and narrow course, and leads the Baron off his. It's beautifully photographed on black & white nitrate film capturing atmospheric sunny days and romantic arc-moonlit nights, gorgeous costumes and fascinating sets equally well. One can almost smell the fresh air! One slight downer: the three midgets go from startling to plain irritating with their omnipresence. It's all about Love, Honour & Purity poetically and elegantly related which makes the denouement with the supposedly pure Anne and the for once nonplussed Devil so delightful and droll. Even if out of scope for him he should still have been able to guess that all's fair in love!
Remember: the Devil will always find work for idle hands to do, including his own. Watch it for a thoughtful two hours of breath taking beauty strolling through a lost world as portrayed by another lost world. Next: Les Enfants Du Paradis.
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