Strolling indolently around the 1830s vibrant Parisian avenue called the Boulevard du Crime, the graceful and elusive courtesan, Garance, finds herself wrongfully accused of pickpocketing. But, amid a sea of jugglers, sideshow performers, streetwalkers, and crooks, the silently eloquent mime, Baptiste, comes to her rescue, only to hopelessly fall for her. And just like that, love's sweet torture befalls the delicate pantomimist, as the insufferable burden of knowing that the object of his desire can never belong to anyone, will heartlessly haunt him for years to come. Many have tried to seize her heart--the flamboyant thespian, Frédérick Lemaître; the criminal dandy, Pierre-François Lacenaire, and the imperious but loveless Count, Édouard de Montray--however, Garance, after so many barren years, now seems to need only one man. In the end, trusting a frail and modest rose is beautiful but cruel. Is there anyone who can accept the naked truth of an unrequited love?Written by
Several of the characters are based on real people: Frédérick Lemaître (1800 - 1876), noted French actor and playwright; Jean-Gaspard Deburau, or Debureau (1796 - 1846), a Bohemian-French actor and mime, performing at the Théâtre des Funambules; Pierre François Lacenaire (1800 - 1836) a noted French poet and murderer, and inspiration for Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment; Victor Avril, a henchman of Lacenaire. See more »
In the outdoor market scene, the amount of food laid out on the tables varies from shot to shot. The reason is that the extras were famished from years of wartime food rationing, and stole food whenever they were not closely watched. See more »
it takes a real poet to write dialog this incisive, not that i speak french, but the new subtitles are very clear (visually) and concise (linguistically)... the poet was jacques prevert, the director marcel carne, and if you want to know how powerful real moviemaking can be, you have to see this picture... as in all true tragedy, the various pairs of lovers comment by their actions on each other's destinies... baptiste/garance are the main pair we care most about, but all the others contribute to and contrast with their true, genuine, doomed affair... the shadows of the main pair are baptiste/nathalie, and garance/frederick, descending to the sick depths of garance/edouard, lacenaire/avril, and jericho/himself. it's like a deck of cards with all possible combinations revealed. based on a true story, set against the theatre milieu of the 1840s, this has the world's best crowd scenes, partially because carne employed every actor in france who needed saving from the nazis, including hiding jews on the set (it was made during WWII). the use of mime advances the plot and is not simply an excuse for baptiste to show off his real-life talents (jean-louis barrault conducts a school of mime in france to this day.) the stunningly vibrant arletty plays garance, a whore with a heart, as if such a thing had never happened before... and until she did it her way, it hadn't...
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