Juju, a drunken oaf who feels the need of being important to someone---anyone---and his friend, an artist, are forced at gunpoint to care for a fugitive, Peirre Barbier, in Juju's broken-down home. The urge for being needed is such in Juju that he gives up drinking and takes care of Pierre, even after he learns that Pierre has been making love to Maria, the girl Juju loves. Plans are made for Pierre's escape, and Maria is to join him over her father's protests. Marua steals money from her father and begs Juju to take it to Pierre. When Juju finds that Pierre plans to double-cross Maria, he kills him. Juju takes the money to his artist-friend, he tells him to return it to Maria, as coming from Pierre, so she won't think she has been betrayed. Juju returns to drinking and being a drunk.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Official submission of France for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 30th Academy Awards in 1958. See more »
Au Bois De Mon Coeur.
Another time ...another place ;even in 1957,"Porte Des Lilas" was already out of time ,lost in the mists of the Réalisme Poétique when they would dream of going away to the sunny places (Juju who wants to take Maria to the sweet Riviera)
It's odd that the Nouvelle Vague did champion Clair who was more old-fashioned than their Bêtes Noires such as Decoin,Duvivier,Clouzot who were making more innovative stuff then.
Hindsight displays Clair's film charms : it marks the final sigh of a moribund school of cinema ; this is par excellence cinema-in -the-studio ,which recreates the outskirts of Paris ;the past was bottled and labelled with love ;characters such as Juju or Barbier -the-baddie are the last of their kind ;ditto for Maria who considers the gangster a Don Juan .
A delightful scene shows Juju trying to steal a bottle of wine from the innkeeper (the colorful Philippe Clay ) ; another sequence seems almost surrealistic:in a modest grocery ,there are lots of foie gras cans ,which is rather implausible :who,on this block,can afford such luxury ?
There's also this anarchism dear to singer Georges Brassens whose song "L'Amendier " laughs at the cops searching his house ,not realizing this song is about them ;it's all the more precious since it's the only appearance by Brassens,one of the greatest French singers of all time , on the silver screen.The rapport he has with veteran Pierre Brasseur is warm and cheerful :they really seem to have a good time together,when they savor their (stolen) foie gras ;they have a thing about the gendarmes and they naively think that a cop's ennemy is a friend in need ;their disappointment will be great when the gangster (Henri Vidal ,the most popular actor of the era) unmasks himself.
Except for the last minutes,it's not really a film noir ; it's a goodbye to an era ;seen today ,the movie is a time capsule of a world slowly fading away ,that of the little groceries (soon to be swallowed by the supermarkets) of the quiet places (where cars were almost unknown) ,of old radio sets they would sell on the market place ,of holidays in the sun only in dreams ....
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