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Let the sunshine in.

Author: dbdumonteil
21 August 2010

The movie begins with lines warning the audience : "everybody needs a decent place to live ,everybody needs some sun (see the title)so we've got to raise the slums to the ground,come on let's raise the slums to the ground!and then we will be through with prostitution,gangsters and other calamities "

It's wishful thinking:the last pictures show us ,after they demolished the seedy houses ,the new buildings ,with a pleasant watercourse ,parks ,under a radiant sun;it's doubtful ,though ,that the characters of the story can enjoy these desirable apartments...

The first picture is a holy picture on a wall,then two girls sleeping in the same bed,then a kitten trying to catch birds in a cage.

The director probably wanted to depict the dregs of society,a la Emile Zola (shades of L'Assomoir") but his characters lack depth -maybe there are two many of them:"Rapt" ,his 1934 effort,just succeeded because it focused on two characters - and the screenplay is a spate of clichés.

However ,the movies includes two excellent scenes:

-the old lady,caught in the act,as she was stealing gloves in a department store ,whose voice is only a whisper and whose lips goes on trembling even when she has finished to tell her story.

-the mother who remembers her youth (I thought it could not go on like that but look at me ,I'm an old woman now and even if things have remained the same ,I could not live somewhere else)

The demolition scenes had already been treated -with much more talent- by Julien Duvivier ("Un Carnet De Bal" ).

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