Between 1936 and 1946, Marcel Carné was among the chief proponents of poetic realism, a studio-bound film style that combined theatrical themes with elaborate dialogues which depicted ordinary people attempting to contend with the unalterable nature of destiny. The shadowy fatalism of poetic realism presaged the more popular American film noir. Though the style was created by Jacques Feyder, with whom Carné apprenticed, it was Carné and poet/screenwriter Jacques Prévert who brought it to its full fruition with Enfants du Paradise (Children of Paradise) (1945), a work still considered one of France’s greatest films. Born and raised in Montmarte, Carné was originally slated to work for an insurance agency by his father, a cabinetmaker. Carné, however, was more interested in movies and secretly attended evening classes on cinematography with the Paris city council-sponsored Association Philomantique. Without telling his father, Carné left the agency in 1928 to work as an assistant cameraman… read more
In a year when he also made the superlative Port Of Shadows, Carné showed that he was at the peak of his powers with another majestic film. It was shot on Trauner's brilliant studio set which recreated the atmospheric Hôtel Du Nord, located on the edge of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. A rich tapestry of characters are featured in a symmetrical story, beginning and ending with dramatic incidents featuring gunfire..
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
Above: Alexandre Trauner's sketch for Canal Saint-Martin and Hotel (second building from right). Besides classical Hollywood, one of the other
Le cinéma français des années 30 est un cinéma comme on n’en fait malheureusement plus. A mi-chemin entre le réalisme et le poétique, il avait comme figure de proue un certain Jean Renoir. D’autres… read review