A Parisian is arriving in a small village.In the French cinema before the war and even in the years which followed,a Parisian was something special for country people,a "person who is not like us ",almost an ET.More than Renoir's "Toni" ,"La Nuit Sans Fin" (Endless night)recalls "Goupi Mains Rouges " where a member from the family came back to the farm :the others called him "Goupi-Monsieur " (sic)and when a crime was committed ,it was only natural that he was the main suspect.
There's a big difference from Becker's work: Olivier,the new farm worker is not part of the family;he's got skeletons in his closet and on the farm he is the perfect intruder.The farmer's daughter (Ginette Leclerc cast against type with her hair in breads) feels sexually attracted to him ,much to the other males' displeasure.
The movie really hits its stride in the last third:the action is very slow,depicting daily life on a farm in a forties ,with an occasional gaffe:the flashback which "explains" the hero's behavior is far-fetched and seems to have been filmed by a different director who would not have seen the whole .
But the last third is what the director aimed for: a stranger "not in town" like in the song ,but in the village and in the nature .Wounded ,he's looking for a helping hand but with the exception of an old doctor and a young farm aid ,nobody will give you a shelter from the storm.Like Goupi-Monsieur ,he was the perfect suspect when somebody was drowned in the pond ,but as he was not part of the community ,he had become the man you've got to get rid of.
One good third ,you hardly make it on the percentages,but it's an interesting attempt.
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