Jean Grémillon’s first talkie, the 1930 LA PETITE LISE, is anything but talky. While opening
and closing with soulful afro-Latin strains, something just above silence reigns throughout
the film. Grémillon is already orchestrating the auditory menace of nuanced sound sculpting
that would later pervade REMORQUES (1941), setting forth evolving rhythmic figures at an
atmospheric whisper. Grémillon grafts this aural frieze onto smoldering b&w photography.
Truly, the frame is often smoking for purposes of motif.
In truth, this film has the most impressive use of sound I know of, including Bresson’s
MOUCHETTE. Read More »