From 1769 to 1821, Napoléon Bonaparte's life, loves and exceptional destiny but as seen through the eyes of Talleyrand, the cynic and ironic politician, who once was the Emperor of France's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The story tales place in a small village in Provence where everybody should be happy.There are artists ,painting in the streets ,and people playing Pétanque (bowls) ....But the captain (Von Stroheim) warns us ...No hope here...
Violaine is seriously ill and soon she will die .Her parents try to conceal the harsh truth but one day she finds her medical file.She decides to make the best of what is left for her.She's in love with a failed writer whose wife is an alcoholic shrew .When the young man kills his wife (an accident) ,Violaine who did not tell her love she was going to die ,decides to leave clues which will accuse her.What's the matter if she is arrested ? She's got so little time to live anyway..
Music is splendid, never sad,never syrupy.But Edmond T Greville also uses the bells to stunning effects!Ring them bell indeed.When Violaine finds out she is soon going to die ,the bell is tolling outside;when the detective questions Blaise the writer ,or when he looks at the shoes of people passing by or when the lovers hide in the streets after Michèle's death ,here come those bells again,sometimes mournful,sometimes joyful,sometimes warning the heroes that their days are numbered.
Biggest flaw is the two flashbacks which are not really necessary and weaken the plot.The detective story does not hang that much well with the moving melodrama.But "l'envers du Paradis" ,with its Sirkesque title,is a fine work of the French fifties.
Like This?try these....
La Foire aux Chimères Pierre Chenal 1946
Pattes Blanches Jean Grémillon 1947
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