A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, ...
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An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by characters as diverse as a morose dairy farmer, a waiter, a myopic... See full summary »
In the 1920s, the Provence is a magnet for immigrants seeking work in the quarries or in agriculture. Many mingle with locals and settle down permanently - like Toni, an Italian who has ... See full summary »
Etienne Alexis, a candidate for president of the new Europe, is a scientist promoting artificial insemination for social betterment and therapy to eliminate passion. His wealthy household (... See full summary »
A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.
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After her father's death and her uncle having drunk all the inheritance, Virginia is left alone. She is accepted by a family of bohemians but a quarrel between the bohemians and the ... See full summary »
Mr. Joly, doctor Cordelier's lawyer, is amazed to discover that his client and friend leaves his possessions to a stranger, Opale, a sadistic criminal. He needs this man to prove that people's behavior can be adjusted at will...
Soon after the death of his first wife (whose dowry was inadequate), Charles Bovary, a country doctor in Normandy, marries Emma Rouault, who is well-endowed in every sense. In her new home,... See full summary »
A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, showing their own small problems.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jean Renoir wrote about his link with the Popular Front movement, during the production of this film (1936-1938): "Il fut un moment où les Français crurent vraiment qu'ils allaient s'aimer les uns les autres. On se sentait porté par une vague de générosité." (Ma Vie et Mes Films, Flammarion, 1975) [For some time the French people did believe that they would love each other. One felt transported by a wave of generosity.] See more »
La Marseillaise takes place during the phase of the French revolution that was the most optimistic and the least bloody. Director Jean Renoir is concerned with how this moment is viewed by both the monarchy in Paris and the everyday people of Marseillaise who march to Paris singing their song (Battle Hymn of the Rhine Army). His presentation is realistic and probably more accurate than most films that have dealt with the subject.
La Marseillaise has been proclaimed as a masterpiece but, while I liked the film, I cannot share in that acclaim. Jean Renoir is considered one of the (if not THE) greatest French directors in film history. I love The Rules of the Game, but have found many of Renoir's other films slow going. This is true of parts of La Marseillaise as well. The running time is 132 minutes; there is (intentionally) no main protagonist; an assumption is made that the audience knows more about the historical events than some viewers (like me) may.
Despite some restlessness on my part, La Marseillaise remains a worthwhile film. Every Jean Renoir film has wonderful moments, La Marseillaise especially. My favorite is Louis XVI's long walk with his family to Parilament. Renoir uses a crane shot to view the pedestrians. The dejected look on the King's face is powerful. He and his son share a reflexive moment over fallen leaves. This scene powerfully contrasts with the buffoonish way Louis was portrayed at the beginning of the film. This is a perfectly made scene. The film has other great scenes as well.
Although it did not affect me as deeply as it has others, I would recommend La Marseillaise, especially to French film admirers, students of Jean Renoir, and history buffs.
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