Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis)

Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis) 1945
by Marcel Carné

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 20th April 2016 – 6.00pm
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.




Les Enfants du Paradis
Les Enfants du Paradis, released as “Children of Paradise” in North America, is a 1945 French film directed by Marcel Carné. It was made during the German occupation of France during World War II (Nazi occupation of France). Set among the Parisian theatre scene of the 1820s and 30s in ascreen play by famous French author Jacques Prevert,this three-hour film in two parts was described in the original American trailer as the French answer to “Gone with the Wind” (1939). The film was voted “Best Film Ever” in a poll of 600 French critics and professionals in 1995 and nominated to Oscar Awards.


In this expansive drama, the lovely and enigmatic Parisian actress Garance (Arletty) draws the attention of various men in her orbit, including the thoughtful mime Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) and the ambitious actor Frédérick (Pierre Brasseur). Though Garance and Baptiste have an undeniable connection, their fortunes shift considerably, pushing them apart as well as bringing them back together, even as they pursue other relationships and lead separate lives.Screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable goal.

Dans ce drame, la belle et énigmatique actrice parisienne Garance (Arletty) attire l’attention de divers hommes y comprisle pensif mime Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) et l’ambitieuxacteur Frédérick (Pierre Brasseur). Bien que Garance et Baptiste aient un lien indéniable, leur destindiffèrent considérablement tout d’abord en les éloignant l’un de l’autre. Le scénario du film se développe ainsi autour de quatre hommes tombés amoureux de la mystérieuse Garance. Chacund’eux l’aime à sa manière mais seulle mime-acteur Baptistedemeure tout à faitpur dans ses intentions et, en conséquence, il sera celui qui souffrira le plus, d’un obstacle à l’autre dans la poursuite d’un objectif au bout du compte évidemment inaccessible.

Film Review

Poetic realism reached sublime heights with “Children of Paradise”, widely considered as one of the greatest French films of all time. This nimble depiction of nineteenth-century Paris’ theatrical demimonde, filmed during World War II, follows a mysterious woman (Arletty) loved by four different men (all based on historical figures): an actor, a criminal, a count, and, most poignantly, a mime (Jean-Louis Barrault in a longing-suffused performance for the ages). With sensitivity and dramatic élan, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert resurrect a world teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers. And thanks to a major new restoration, this iconic classic looks and sounds richer and more detailed than ever. “Children of Paradise” is critic’s personal favorite.Marcel Carne’s 1945 French romantic drama is a transformative cinematic experience.

To see Marcel Carné’s “Children of Paradise” under any circumstances is to be transported and transformed by cinema. Written by Carné’s frequent collaborator Jacques Prévert, this 1945 film is more than the acme of a style known as poetic realism, it is often considered to be the greatest French film ever made. Called by critic James Agee “close to perfection … guaranteed to make you very happily drunk,” it is also the title I most often cite when asked to pick an all-time personal favorite.

Set in the teeming environs of 1830s Paris, the “Paradise” title refers to those who inhabit the highest balconies (and the cheapest seats) in the myriad theaters of that city’s Boulevard du Crime (the nickname of “Boulevard du Temple”). These spectators are the equivalent of Shakespeare’s groundlings, those whose love of theatrical spectacle is in inverse proportion to their ability to pay for it.

June 01, 2012 by Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic.

Avec les Enfants du paradis, on se trouve devant un cas à la fois grandiose et embarrassant. Ce n’est pas simplement l’un de ces nombreux films monuments dont, de Gance en Vigo, de Guitry en Renoir, le vaste et vieux pays du cinéma français est rempli. Les Enfants du paradis, c’est un peu la tour Eiffel de tous les films français : une proéminence qui tient à la fois à ses moyens, à sa durée, à son ampleur et à l’universalité de son thème amoureux et théâtral. Mais une plus étrange pérennité s’ajoute à ces ingrédients : une forme d’académisme un peu rigide qui le protège du temps.

«Collaboration». Le découvrir aujourd’hui dans sa version somptueusement restaurée renforce encore cette impression que l’industrie du cinéma français, ses arts et techniques, son artisanat, atteignaient avec les Enfants du paradis un sommet historique. Quel que soit l’étage que l’on considère parmi les «métiers» qui constituent le processus de fabrication du cinéma, quelle que soit la fenêtre à laquelle on se penche pour tenter d’en observer les machineries cachées, on se retrouve toujours face à ce même sentiment de quasi-perfection formelle.

En savoir plus sur site

~ Olivier Séguret,

Read more on: