This week the spotlight is on Marcel Carné, an innovative filmmaker who led the poetic realism movement and was arguably considered the most admired French filmmaker of his era.
He produced his great works just before the mid-twentieth century, some of which include; “Quai de Brumes” (1938); “Les Portes de la Nuit” (1946); and “Le Jour se lève” (1939).
In 1936 Carné directed his first full length feature film “Jenny” and it was with the production of this film that he started to collaborate with Jacques Prévert. Over the following years the two men would become a sensation to French cinema and would create some of the greatest works in French cinema history. Together with a few other filmmakers the style of filmmaking known as poetic realism was created. This style combined lyrical idealism with the fatalistic life and setting of the characters.
His magnum opus “Les Enfants du Paradis” is to this day considered one of the greatest films of all time. The screenplay was written by the celebrated French poet Jacques Prévert whose poetic script adds to the charm and romance of the film. Set among the Parisian theatre of the 19th century, it tells the story of four men who have all fallen in love with one woman. All of whom are from different walks of life, an actor, a mime, an aristocrat and a swindler and thus love her in their different ways. The woman who has stolen their hearts only loves one of them in return. The main character Garance was played by Arletty, the beauty of the era who once posed for Braque and Metisse.
After the war, Carné’s poetic realism became unpopular and suffered a blow when the founders of the New Wave movement critiqued his style. François Truffaut once described him as “a confused soul” and “an obstinate cineaste”. Despite his decline in popularity towards the later half of his career, it is undeniable that his most notable work “Les Enfants du Paradis” will forever be remembered as an unforgettable, timeless tale which has the power to haunt its audience for the rest of their lives.
This coming October the acclaimed “Cinémathèque Française” will launch an exhibition about Carné’s masterpiece “Les Enfants du Paradis”. Whether you’ve long been a fan of this classic film or if you’re inspired to learn more about it, the exhibition is sure to be a good one as the famous French cinema museum never disappoints.
Exhibition starts the 24th October 2012 and ends the 27th January 2013