1941-1950DramaFranceJean Dréville

Jean Dréville – Les affaires sont les affaires (1942)

Nouveau riche

In spite of a very poor rating, this film is really a killer! By far Jean Dreville’s most important film as well as one of the best Charles Vanel’s performances. First intended for Raimu, it seems that Vanel was finally a better choice and anyway if you give this movie a chance, he’s gonna blow your mind. Lord! What an actor!

MOnsieur Lechat is a nouveau riche: he epitomizes the American dream turned French. A self made man, he worked his way up and now he lives in luxury in a desirable mansion where his missus (who tells her daughter that if there are poor people it’s because they are lazy) is ill-at-ease (it’s so huge, I cannot get used to it). He’s completely devoid of compassion, a heart of stone and a desire to push people out of his way, a smug smile every time he puts one of his business’ colleagues down. He feels no remorse when he learns a man committed suicide whereas he could have saved him effortlessly.

“Business is business” is Octave Mirbeau’s play masterfully transferred to the screen. Monsieur Lechat makes all Chabrol’s bourgeois seem nice by comparison.

Monsieur Lechat’s next victim is to be the Marquis de Porcellet (Marquis of Piglet). Now the bourgeois have replaced the nobles at the top, and there is no room there for the ruined aristocrats except… if they let their son marries the wealthy businessman’s daughter. For, like Monsieur Jourdain, in Molière’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”, Monsieur Lechat wants his daughter to be a Marquise (and maybe a duchess). Unlike Jourdain, Lechat is no idiot and he kills two birds with one stone: he enters an obsolete world which retained in the first half of the twentieth century some prestige; and he humiliates a man whose pride, honor, duty and moral values are his reasons to live. But if Mirbeau shows some sympathy for the Marquis (and finally avenges him), he does believe that all those values are doomed and fast becoming things of bygone days.

“Les Affaires Sont les Affaires”, released in the darkest year of the Occupation is almost a desperate work: only the tycoon’s daughter, by breaking off communication with her family ,may mean hope for the future. Her lover is a scientist the discoveries of whom the daddy wanted to take over.

1.16GB | 1h 16m | 712×572 | mkv


Subtitles:English,French HoH

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