1931-1940ClassicsFranceJean Benoît-LévyMarie Epstein

Jean Benoît-Lévy & Marie Epstein – La Maternelle AKA Children of Montmartre (1933)

Below is an apt “user comment” from the film’s IMDB page. For my money, LA MATERNELLE is an even greater film than ZERO FOR CONDUCT, which is saying a lot.

“Until I saw this film at a Cinema Conference in Aberdeen in 1995 I was ignorant of the fact that a woman director had produced poetic and social cinema comparable with Vigo’s ZERO DE CONDUITE (certainly one of the greatest films ever). Vigo in 1933 is revolutionary anarchist with modernist poetry at his finger tips; Epstein in 1933 is warm-hearted popular front realism with magnificent performances by nursery school kids, though the main schoolgirl is a little older (and in love with her teacher, like the protagonist in Leontine Sagan’s MAIDENS IN UNIFORM 1931). And that teacher (unqualified according to the authorities) is a young Madeleine Renaud, dazzlingly soft focus in the tradition of French poetic realism. It should be shown this film as source material for pedagogical controversy and reform (Epstein’s approach is after Rousseau progressive and child-centred). And it should be on everybody’s list as one of the greatest films of all time. You can’t have your Vigo without your Epstein… .”

782MB | 1h 21m | 720×480 | avi



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