At a show a physically strong man shoots tomatoes at all girls who do not take off their clothes. When he shoots at Perrucha, the diver Mario turns out to be even stronger. A general fight ... See full summary »
At a show a physically strong man shoots tomatoes at all girls who do not take off their clothes. When he shoots at Perrucha, the diver Mario turns out to be even stronger. A general fight starts and all furniture is broken. The owner orders Perrucha to undress henceforth. She leaves the job to sleep in the waiting room at the railway station, only to find Mario sleeping next to her. A love relation emerges. But Mario suffers an accident and is send to the hospital. His best friend Raymond tells Perrucha that he had gone away without leaving any address. Raymond also steals all post written by Mario and later tells him lies about Perrucha. She moves to another town and pursues her career. She will soon sing in Broadcasting and exclusive music-halls, and get a new lover. Mario decides to shoot her but is prevented. When he goes to her and they talk, things do not go well. He decides immediately to go down to the bottom of the sea and cut the air tube. He tells her so. When both become ... Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
Fifty Years Ago This Was Generally Considered a Great Love Movie
Claude Miller directed Francois Truffaut's posthumous manuscript "La petite voleuse" (The Young Thief) (1988). In one scene the girl is standing outside a cinema. All over the front are pasted 50 or more identical placards of the movie shown just now. Such PLACARD ABUNDANCE was only used for a "greatfilm" (yes, it is one single word in Scandinavia). It belongs to the definition of a greatfilm that it is highly admired by both experts and ordinary spectators. The placards belong to "L'épave" (The Wreck / Sin and Desire) (1949). They prove that "L'épave" was at that time generally perceived as a greatfilm.
It also had a central place in my own cinematic history. I immigrated to Sweden in 1952 when I was almost 19. My first five years was an odyssey through a dozen of towns, but then I settled in Stockholm.
I have never changed my mind what were the two best movies I had seen prior to my immigration (listed first), nor about the two best movies I saw during my odyssey:
"L'épave" by Willy Rozier (France, 1949) & "A Woman Without a Face" by Gustaf Molander (Sweden, 1947)
"Les Enfants du Paradis" by Marcel Carné (France, 1945) & "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Elia Kazan (USA, 1950)
I saw "L'épave" thrice in 1951, but never again until the DVD was released in 2005.
(Just a passing remark: "Le grand bleue" (The Big Blue) by Luc Besson (1988) is clearly inspired by "L'épave". Note in particular the parallel of the last scenes of both movies.)
"L'épave" could be considered a tragic love romance, but there are complications. The diver loves Perrucha. Did she love him? She would not have given up her virginity if she had not been sure of his serious and permanent feelings. The couple might have had a lasting and happy monogamous relation that would also have satisfied the girl - - - albeit with one question mark. She had a great talent for singing, and she would later have a career. While the couple was together she did long for doing a good artistic job and being admired by audiences.
The diver had a friend who schemed about the relation. When I was 18 years old I never understood the friend's motives. As far as I could see, the friend had no intention to harm the diver. Then WHY did he actually harm him so seriously?
I have eventually learned how some people think. In the friend's eyes Perrucha was not good enough for the diver. So the friend felt that he had both the right and the duty to interfere and do "what was best" for the diver.
The diver had a serious accident at the bottom of the sea. He spent no brief time in a hospital. The friend told Perrucha that the diver had just run away without leaving any address. He also succeeded in stealing and destroying the diver's letters to Perrucha.
There is no difference between my private feelings today and my feelings when I was a teenager. May heaven save me from such friends! I and only I want to decide what blunders to do (even if they are indeed blunders). Don't give me any advice! Don't try to arrange things behind my back!
As things developed we never got a chance to see whether Perrucha could have pursued her singing career even if she had married the diver. When the diver finally came home from the hospital, Perrucha was not there, and the friend told lies about how she had departed. The diver might never have found her again, if he had not heard her voice in broadcasting.
But when he went to her, she had a new lover from a different social class. I had no other attitude in 1951 than today. It is neither surprising nor blameworthy that her love for the diver had ceased. Nor is it blameworthy that she was not prepared to break with her present lover and go back to the diver. Nevertheless, Perrucha had good reason to like, perhaps also to love the diver (although love is not often based on good reason). Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder if their relation could have been resumed if he had had some patience. Unfortunately, his friend had done his best to make both the diver and Perrucha live in the worst of all possible worlds.
Admittedly, I am a Romantic. I still think it was tragic that the relation of the couple was destroyed.
My reflections have left out many important aspects. It is no wonder that the diver in the end goes down to the sea bottom and cuts the air tube and the rope.
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