Pierre Granier-Deferre’s poignant drama stars Jean Gabin and Simone Signoret as a couple struggling to retain their affection for one another in their now stagnant marriage.
Nearing the end of his career, Gabin performs a poignant and tragic role as a man whose marriage has descended into disillusion and bitterness. As the two become the worst of enemies, Julien (Gabin) takes solace in the company of a stray cat, while Clémence (Signoret) sees the cat as a symbol of her rejected love.
Jean Gabin received The Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1971 as Best Actor for this role.
‘’Le Chat shows a different facet of Gabin’s talent. This drama about the redevelopment of urban Paris stages an explosive encounter between Gabin and Simone Signoret, the two ageing stars tempering the bitterness of their characters with the power of their performances. ’’ Ginette Vincendeau, author of Stars and Stardom in French Cinema. —CINEMOI
It is no surprise to learn that the Parisian Granier-Deferre, after studying at l’Idhec (L’Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques), started his career as assistant on a number of solid mainstream films, several directed by the workmanlike Denys de La Patellière and Jean-Paul Le Chanois, some featuring the great Jean Gabin, still trailing his past glory. He was also assistant on L’Air de Paris (1954), starring Gabin and Arletty, directed by Marcel Carné, one of the leading representatives of le cinéma de qualité, which the new wave reacted against but which, particularly Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, eventually came to admire.
When Granier-Deferre began to direct films himself in 1962, he continued in the same tradition, featuring many of the monstres sacrés of the French cinema – Gabin, Simone Signoret, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Romy Schneider, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret and Jean Rochefort – and working on the scripts with a number of contemporary novelists whose… read more