1951-1960DramaFranceMarcel Carné

Marcel Carné – Terrain vague AKA Wasteland (1960)

Young Danny, better known as Tomb, is the toughest in a street gang in Paris. She dresses as a boy and fights like a man.

I was stoked to discover that there is one cinematic adaptation of a Hal Ellson novel. Largely forgotten today, Ellson was the premier juvenile delinquency fiction writer of the 40s and 50s. This loose adaptation of Ellson’s Tomboy from legendary classic French filmmaker Marcel Carne certainly captures the spirit of Ellson’s fiction despite transporting the story from NYC to a decaying postwar French inner city. The title of “Wasteland” is appropriate in many manners, not the least of which is the cityscape the teens wander feels abandoned and desolate due to the lower income occupancies. Carne adapts the story of a teen girl leader of a predominantly boy gang with his traditionalist poetic realism style. Given the previous year saw the release of The 400 Blows, this more classical approach must have seemed out of touch with the concurrent French New Wave. Seen today, Carne’s steadfast holding onto the poetic realism aesthetic makes the work even more distinctive and anomalous (even if there is a noticeable element of Kitchen Sink Realism, showing he was not immune to the current filmmaking trends). The film concludes with a heartbreaking tragedy, making this a more convincing and grounded tale of juvenile delinquency than anything produced in the States around the time. Carne’s Wasteland is difficult to find but well worth the effort.

1.75GB | 1h 44m | 738×492 | mkv



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