During WW2, a posh bourgeois woman (Morgan)is compelled to live under the same room as a crude simple-minded yet big-hearted man.(Bourvil) Her husband was arrested by the Gestapo and she is a hunted woman .
Although not looked upon as a first-rate director,Joffé was praised for the way he used his actors.It's patently obvious in "Fortunat"!Michèle Morgan gives a subtle performance as a woman whose resilience is completely unexpected:when she enters the seedy flat,she says "We cannot stay here!It's not comfortable enough ! The children are not used to that!".Morgan manages to keep her pride and her radiance even when she carries out humble homework.In direct contrast to her,we have Fortunat:Bourvil shines in his part of an uneducated peasant,risking his life to save his French fellow men as his former school mistress (Gaby Morlay) taught him to do.
Their neighbors are a Jewish family (good support from Rosy Varte and Teddy Billis)with a little girl.In a very simple but moving way,Joffé shows the absurdity of Anti-Semitism:the two families get on very well,they drink lemonade,make music and celebrate Christmas together.The most beautiful scene is perhaps the moment when the two boys and the girl are eating bread and are pretending they're savoring chicken.
Joffé's detractors are going to say it's too good to be true.But the outside world is still here.Morgan hopes the Falk family will be safe and sound but she does not know about concentration camps.Morgan's husband returns from Germany a broken man (he does not appear in the movie),and Bourvil's schoolteacher is shot.
Like this ? Try these.. René Clément: "le jour et l'heure" 1963 Jacques Doillon: "un sac de billes" 1975 George Stevens:"the diary of Anne Frank" 1961 Claude Chabrol: "la Ligne de Démarcation" 1965
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