Irrestisible charm and talent help Serge Alexandre alias Stavisky, small-time swindler, to make friends with even the most influential members of the French industrial and political elite ...
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Irrestisible charm and talent help Serge Alexandre alias Stavisky, small-time swindler, to make friends with even the most influential members of the French industrial and political elite during the early '30s. But nothing lasts forever and when his great scam involving hundreds millions of francs gets exposed, the result is an unprecedented scandal that almost caused a civil war.Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
On February 7, 1934, the French Ministry of the Interior and the Paris Police Prefecture banned the showing of newsreel footage of the previous day's mêlée by right-wing royalists, war veterans and members of the anti-semitic, nationalist, anti-republican Action Francaise movement, who rioted to bring down the Daladier government over the Stavisky affair. The riots left 17 dead and 116 wounded. One Parisian cinema, Reginald Ford's Cineac Theatre, defied the censorship to show footage of the riots by the reactionary forces, which had been caught on-camera by French and foreign newsreel photographers. See more »
Not a conventional period romp - but hugely subtle and satisfying
For the first hour or more you keep stumbling - the movie s surface looks like a period romp, helped by Sondheim s elegantly quizzical score, but the narrative is fragmented and frustratingly hard to follow. But as it takes shape (with Resnais pulling a Vertigo by tipping us off on Stavisky s fall about two thirds of the way in) you realize the subtlety of his design - his earlier formal and temporal experiments are incorporated almost seamlessly here into a lush cinematic package. Resnais spends little time on the usual raw material of the genre: the fragility of Stavisky s position becomes apparent almost immediately, and Resnais shows how the myth of the gentleman thief always had to be a sham - emotionally, sociologically and politically. Power is always contingent on the cooperation of others, and thus always endangered. As endangered, indeed, as our confidence in our sense of time and space - in the closing stretch Resnais moves superbly between events before and after Stavisky s death: the man (a spectre; a figure of several manufactured identities) recedes as the overall design takes precedence. The final image though is purely elegiac and nostalgic; perhaps for the art as well as for the man.
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