Paul Bernard

  • Jean Grémillon – Pattes blanches AKA White Paws (1949)

    The “white paws” of this noirish melodrama are the gaudy white spats sported by a reclusive French aristocrat in a fishing village on the coast of Normandy. Scripted by French playwright Jean Anouilh, who was originally to have directed it, Pattes blanches was ultimately brought to the screen by Grémillon, who accepted the project after the commercial failure of his Le ciel est à vous. The moody plot concerns the relationship of the aristocrat (Bernard) and his vengeful half-brother (Bouquet) and their rivalry over a promiscuous flirt from the city (Delair) who has married the local innkeeper. Although produced within the framework of the commercial cinema, Grémillon’s film manages to imbue the melodrama with a sharp sense of class divisions and his characteristic visual harmonies. (Harvard Film Archives)Read More »

  • Jacques Feyder – Pension Mimosas (1935)

    After his father is sent to prison, a young boy, Pierrot, is adopted by the Noblet family, who own the Mimosas boarding-house on the French Riviera. Pierrot grows up to become a small-time crook and extorts money from his adopted family. He then becomes caught up in a frenzied love triangle with his mistress Nelly and the Noblet’s daughter Louise.Read More »

  • Robert Bresson – Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne AKA The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (1945)

    Quote:
    “Les dames du Bois de Boulogne is a 1945 film directed by Robert Bresson. It is a modern adaptation of a section of Diderot’s Jacques le fataliste (1796), telling the story of a man who is tricked into marrying a former prostitute. The title means “the women of the Bois de Boulogne”, a park in Paris. Les Dames was Bresson’s second feature and is an early example of his dramatic experimentation and innovations in reducing dramatic form to its bare essentials, signifying his status as an auteur, rather than simply a metteur en scène. It is also his last film to feature a cast entirely composed of professional actors.The film’s editing rhythms are similar to Bresson’s later work. However, while his later work often reflects Bresson’s personal Catholic beliefs and Christian-intellectual mentality, Les Dames is a more secular work. The redemptive ending is more secular than spiritual although it does establish Bresson’s later, more refined, thematic obsessions with redemption and salvation.”Read More »

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