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La petite marchande d'allumettes (1928)

An impoverished girl tries to sell matches on NYE. Shivering with cold and unable to sell her wares, she sits in a sheltered nook. Striking a match to keep warm, she sees things in the flame.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Catherine Hessling ... Karen
Eric Barclay
Jean Storm Jean Storm ... Axel Ott / soldat en bois
Manuel Raaby
Amy Wells Amy Wells
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Guy Ferrant Guy Ferrant
Mme. Heuschling Mme. Heuschling ... Une passante
Comtesse Tolstoi Comtesse Tolstoi ... La dame au chien
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Storyline

An impoverished girl tries to sell matches on NYE. Shivering with cold and unable to sell her wares, she sits in a sheltered nook. Striking a match to keep warm, she sees things in the flame.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama | Fantasy

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

8 June 1928 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Das kleine Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, dances a small duet as a toy soldier in this film. She had studied under Isadora Duncan's eccentric brother Raymond. See more »

Connections

Version of The Little Match Girl (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh the humanity...
16 February 2013 | by LobotomousMonkSee all my reviews

La Petite Marchande D'Allumettes is another of Renoir's bleak portrayals of meek and meager lives at odds with their milieu. Something about it though feels like a re-hashing of earlier Renoir works (Une Vie and La Fille...even Nana). This piece was filmed in the Vieux-Colombier and produced by Tedesco. I conjecture (or just straight up fantasize) that the pair brainstormed on a film concept that was to be "suited" for Renoir and Hessling together. I imagine the idea of adapting a famous tale (Andersen's short story) as a compromise (never a great way to produce art imo)... and what you get is something not quite original in any way whatsoever. Now, that isn't to say that the French Impressionist film techniques used in the hallucination sequences are not constructed and crafted with technical precision and genius intuition... but that it was already fertile ground for Renoir (and Hessling for that matter). I have previously hypothesized that some of Renoir's silent work was prophecy and prognostication through forming a death allegory between human freedom and the film industry itself. This may have been the last time that Renoir favored a stylistic system constructed around a protagonist's psychology and showcasing avant-garde editing techniques (impossible to say without a full print of Le Tournoi available). Certainly, Renoir's next film, Tire au Flanc would begin a shift toward a dominant stylistic system and diegetic construction (characterized by depth of field, mobile framing, multiple protagonists, etc.) that marked Renoir as a unique and exceptional filmmaker. Interesting also, that it was not sound film production that spurred this stylistic shift for Renoir as Tire was a silent film (although, I do believe it may have been the imminence of sound film that also had Renoir thinking one step ahead).


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