It has been often mooted that the Nouvelle Vague was the Second Coming,saving French cinema from tediousness,routine,ennui,mediocrity,you name it.
So on the site n+x comments on Godard and co,and only one on this Duvivier jewel.It's when one sees such marvels one realizes all that the New Wave has deprived French cinema of:the very substance of a film,the telling of a story.And Duvivier comes first for that;here he transcends the film made up of sketches he brilliantly pioneered in the thirties with "un carnet de bal"(1937):he uses now intertwined plots with gusto,and Paris places with taste.All his characters are endearing,and he runs the whole gamut:the young girl coming from her province (Brigitte Auber who will be in Hitchcock's "To catch a thief");you're going to say it's a cliché,but wait and see,you"ll never guess what fate is in store for her,it defies conventions;the old lady and her cats (A marvelous Sylvie),trying to make ends meet;the children who find themselves back on a boat alone on the Seine ;the student who always fails(Daniel Ivernel);a sculptor gone mad;a working man,celebrating his silver wedding,and more,and more....And all that happens in the space of one day under Paris sky (sous le ciel de Paris), all these lives run into each other,or don't,making a whole,under Duvivier's magic wand.
Because magic is the only name that can describe such a treat.Orson Welles used to admire Duvivier,how I understand him!
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