Wednesday, February 13, 2019


1939, France, directed by Robert Siodmak

French-period Siodmak, and very brisk fun: seen shortly after Sirk's remake, as Lured/Personal Column, the debt owed by the later film is a good deal more obvious, with certain sequences essentially shot-for-shot reproductions, though the actors give each film a nice variation in flavor. 

Saturday, February 09, 2019

A nos amours

1983, France, directed by Maurice Pialat

Perhaps the most unsettling film in the Pialat canon, in large part because of the director's extraordinary onscreen presence. The genuine rigours, both emotional and physical, through which the actors are put are very apparent here, with them forced to react to Pialat-as-actor's incredibly unpredictability and even violence, not least in the extraordinary dinner-party scene where his character returns to the family home after a period of exile and throws what seems like a new equilibirum utterly off-balance. Pialat is a terrific, though challenging, actor in his own right, and on the strength of this film it's not hard to see why others might not have wanted to direct him, though he seems to have enjoyed considerable loyalty from several actors who returned several times to his sets.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Mélodie en sous-sol

1963, France, directed by Henri Verneuil

A weaker entry in the Gabin canon, though never without interest, not least as the first of three films uniting Gabin with Alain Delon, cast very much as the youthful rebel. The opening, set in under-construction Sarcelles, is quite fascinating, with Gabin's character returning from prison to a transformed landscape; the oppressive effect of the new construction is reminiscent of the tone of Gabin's slightly later, and much more challenging, Le Chat, set against a similar background. While the locations in the opening going make a real impact, the subsequent blend of location and studio shooting is very rough-edged, with the studio sets so obviously artificial.


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Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States