Marcel Carné – Juliette ou La clef des songes AKA Juliette, or Key of Dreams (1951)

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Synopsis
Having been caught stealing money from his employer to pay for a holiday with his girlfriend Juliette, Michel finds himself in a prison cell. He falls into a deep sleep and awakes to find the door of his cell open. Stepping through the doorway, he finds himself in the most beautiful sun-drenched countryside. A peaceful country road leads him to a remote village whose inhabitants have lost their memory. Husbands and wives no longer recognise one another but everyone seems to know Juliette when Michel enquires about her…
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Marcel Carné – Hôtel du Nord (1938)

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Story :
A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin. They want to die together, but after having shooted at Renee, Pierre lacks of courage and ran away. Another customer, Monsieur Edmond, a procurer, rescues her. When Renee goes out of the hospital, she is hired as a waitress at the hotel. Monsieur Edmond falls in love with her, but Renee is still thinking of Pierre … Continue reading

Marcel Carné – Le Quai des brumes aka Port of Shadows [+Extras] (1938)

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Synopsis
Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, as acts of both revenge and kindness render him front-page news. Also starring the blue-eyed phenomenon Michèle Morgan in her first major role, and the menacing Michel Simon, Port of Shadows (Le Quai des brumes) starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan, the inimitable team of director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert deliver a quintessential example of poetic realism and a classic film from the golden age of French cinema. Continue reading

Marcel Carné – Le Jour se lève aka Daybreak (1939)

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Le Jour se lève (or Daybreak) is a 1939 French film directed by Marcel Carné and written by Jacques Prévert, based on a story by Jacques Viot. At the Venice Film Festival, Le Jour se lève was nominated for the Mussolini Cup. In 1952, the film was included in the first Sight and Sound top ten greatest films list. Continue reading

Marcel Carné – Les Portes de la nuit aka Gates of the night (1946)

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story
Paris, February, 1945. On the metro, Diego for the first time meets Le Destin, in the guise of a tramp. Diego cornes out of the metro at Barbes-Rochechouart, outside which Quinquina and his daughter are selling their odd belongings. He goes to see the Lécuyer family. A discussion occurs between the Quinquina’s and M. Senechal, a landlord of shabby houles and building contractor, who has made a fortune during the German occupation. ln a restaurant we encounter Guy Senechal, his son, a mixed character who makes a living on the black market, as well as Malou, his sister, just back in France with her rich husband, Georges, The ubiquitous tramp is there again. He foretells the death of a fortune-teller, has enigmatic words for Guy, and shows Malou to Diego. Continue reading

Marcel Carné – Les visiteurs du soir AKA The Devil’s Envoys (1942)

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Synopsis
Two wandering minstrels, Gilles and Dominique, arrive at the castle of the Baron Hugh just as he announces the engagement of his daughter Anne to the knight Renaud. However Gilles and Dominique have really sold their souls to The Devil and have been charged with traveling throughout the land and tempting mortals into damnation by causing them to fall in love with them. Dominique causes both Renaud and Hugh to fall for her. Meanwhile Gilles seduces Anne but then falls for her himself. And so The Devil arrives in person to visit a cruel punishment on the two lovers. Continue reading

Marcel Carné – Les enfants du paradis AKA Children of Paradise (1945)

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by Hal Erickson

Even in 1945, Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise was regarded as an old-fashioned film. Set in the Parisian theatrical world of the 1840s, Jacques Prévert’s screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable goal. In the stylized fashion of 19th-century French drama, many grand passions are spent during the film’s totally absorbing 195 minutes. Amazingly, the film was produced over a two-year period in virtual secrecy, without the knowledge of the Nazis then occupying France, who would surely have arrested several of the cast and production staff members (including Prévert) for their activities in the Resistance. Children of Paradise has gone on to become one of the great romantic classics of international cinema. Continue reading