This is crucial:this film was not produced in 1944,but in 1942,during the dark hours of the Occupation.IMDb should correct the page.
The first part is the most palatable for today's audience:some students have a club "la Vache Enragée" (= lean times),they all work to pay their studies and they give a large amount of the money they make to their cooperative : in case of hard blow,any of them is sure to find help from the others.The youth's enthusiasm might have inspired Jacques Becker when he made "Rendez-vous de Juillet" .
Then the war (WW2) breaks out.A brief hint at Danzig ,a call up public notice ,three dates (1940,1941,1942) and that's it.When the students are going to war,even the word Hitler is not uttered .The war is something abstract and it was the only way to deal with it because of the Occupation and the Vichy government.
The second part of the movie,like many a melodrama of the era, is Petainist to the core.When the young artist comes back from war,he is blind .In fact ,the war was not so necessary :it could have been an accident.The good girl (Michèle Alfa) acts in keeping with the Vichy government's moral standards whereas the young man's former girlfriend ,who has no sense of right and wrong,is kept by graybeards who could be her father.
So Genevieve sacrifices her life,her former boyfriend ( the handsome Henri Vidal)for the sake of the blind sculptor(Jean Louis Barrault) and his career (soon to be buoyant).
NB: Among the students,you will notice a young Simone Signoret:she has not a line to say ,but she appears several times.
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