|Index||8 reviews in total|
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
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.
It's the only Carné-Prévert movie that takes place in another era,the
Middle Ages.During the German occupation,it was an alibi:the Devil was
meant to represent Hitler and the two lovers the Resistance.But for the
people at the time,their hints at French plight were so disguised -or
else,it would have been banned by the censorship-,they only saw the
escapist movie which they did need.Over the years,the movie has lost
some of its charms:after a brilliant introduction,the pace remains too
slow and it's hard to believe that Alain Cuny and Marie Déa are eaten
with desire.As always in Carné's movies,it's the supporting cast that
walks out with the honors:Arletty is as splendid as ever in her
androgynous beauty,and Jules Berry is ideally cast as the Devil.Though
it remains inferior to "le jour se lève" and "les enfants du paradis"
,"les visiteurs du soir" is a curiosity for French movies buffs.People
who like it should see "l'éternel retour",a collaboration between Jean
Delannoy and Jean Cocteau.
NB :"Children of paradise " also takes place in another era ,the nineteenth century;sorry.
Simply the most beautiful and moving movie that stemmed from the
"réalisme poétique" movement. A truly atemporal story, despite the
resistance allusions which can live long after the end of WWII.
What makes me really love this movie is the contrast between the very dated conventions of acting, the seemingly slow pace that was the rule at a time the video clips were still waiting in an unforeseeable future and the perfect consistency of the characters and psychology. The emotion is still intact no matter how much the way actors and directors are supposed to convey it has changed over decades.
What a bunch of great actors! True professionals working seamlessly together to serve a masterly written script. I really advise non-french speaking people to watch it in original version with subtitles, to enjoy the music of Prevert's poetic lines.
This movie is a real gem.
The heavy censorship imposed during the german occupation made it difficult for cineasts to find non controversial subjects. Jacques Prévert and Marcel Carné came up with this medieval tale of love and sorcery with a prestigious cast of great actors. It has been claimed that the beating heart in the statue was a symbol of the Resistance.
A relatively little-known but fascinating movie. Made during the German occupation of France, the film is set in the Late Middle Ages and deals with two envoys of the devil, Gilles and Dominique (Alain Cuny and Arletty, wonderful both) that arrive posing as wandering minstrels at the castle of a Baron where preparations for an upcoming wedding are being made. Their intention is to create havoc by breaking the hearts of all involved. These envoys have extraordinary powers to achieve these goals, like slowing time to a stop so that they can work on their targets at ease. Eventually, the very devil shows up at the castle in disguise. One can argue that the devil in the movie stands for Hitler and the Nazis and so forth, but the film works even if you don't try to watch it as a metaphor for the contemporary events of the time. The movie is memorable and evocative, with many great scenes and a great ending.
The beauty of this stand-out collaboration between Jacques Prevert and Marcel Carne - in the middle of their great hitting streak - is that it works even without the 'coded' references which were a necessity at a time of German Occupation in France. So even when you watch Jules Berry as just the Devil and not a symbol for Hitler and likewise view the two visitors not as symbols of the Resistance but merely two wandering minstrels it still plays and you'll go a long way to find a more poetic image/symbol than Prevert's finale in which the Devil turns the lovers to stone before our eyes yet their hearts keep on beating. Not least of the pleasures on offer is future icon Simone Signoret as an extra but the whole schmeer, complete with some tasty lyrics by Prevert, is a total delight. 8/10
Unbelievably great film. And chilling. At one point I had to press
pause and walk away. Granted I do not watch very many truly shocking
films but that never happens with me. The story takes place in 1485 but
it's about events in 1940. The great director Marcel Carné, for
whatever reason, insisted, until his death, the film was not an
allegory for Hitler and WWII and that any correlation was
unintentional. Why would he deny it for 52 more years after the
liberation of Paris? The similarity is astounding and it's surprising
that Nazi censors never caught on to ban this film. Carné was under
Nazi leadership when he made this. It could have gotten him sent to a
concentration camp. But he was sneaky and to this day we have an
amazing film about Hitler's rise and the French Resistance.
Tremendously well acted. Some complain the film's a little slow but
everything builds so nicely and has its place. A masterpiece and highly
8.7 / 10 stars
--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener
Here is a fine production by Julien Duvivier.
I had the impression to be one of the castle's festivity and the arrival of the "Visiteurs" added a mysterious ingredient that had, at the beginning at least, nothing of the despair that was part of their demoniacal mission.
The enchantment provoked by the satanic couple was a pure wonder. That momentary paralysis of a whole small world between two exciting scenes emphasized Arletty's and Cuny's masterly talent.
Jules Berry's play (the Devil) was so fascinating that it made me longing for a ticket to Hell.
That high class "fantasia" glide far over all those easy big budget "fantastic" productions which flood the film fans since too long.
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