KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS BY ROBERT HAMER (1949)

01/06/2015

KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS is a jewel of British black comedy, famous for Alec Guinness's astonishing performance as no fewer than eight different characters.
As a very distant relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne-Chalfont, Louis Mazzini uses a wide variety of inventive methods to successively do away with all those who stand ahead of him in the line of succession, ultimately murdering the Duke...

THE THINGS OF LIFE (LES CHOSES DE LA VIE) BY CLAUDE SAUTET - 1969

10/13/2014

THE THINGS OF LIFE by Claude Sautet, with Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider - 1969 Louis-Delluc Prize

Michel is fatally wounded in a dreadful car accident. He watches his life race by, remembers the people he had loved, and realises that the countless details matter because they add up to the joy of life.
Claude Sautet directed this drama, co-authored the screenplay with Jean-Loup Dabadie...

DAY BREAK (LE JOUR SE LEVE) MAKES THE 2014 CANNES CLASSICS SELECTION

05/06/2014

Marcel Carné had pledged to work with his PORT OF SHADOWS acolytes Jacques Prévert and Jean Gabin once again. Jacques Viot, who lived next-door to Marcel Carné, brought him the screenplay he was missing about a blue-collar worker who commits a love crime and shuts himself away in his room. The director devoured the script, captivated by the eminently modern flashback structure (which incidentally puzzled the first viewers). Prévert wrote the dialogues. Alexandre Trauner, Carné’s appointed set designer and a great friend of Prévert’s, was naturally on-board. So was Curt Courant, a chief cameraman who had worked with Fritz Lang and Max Ophuls before fleeing Nazi Germany to light up Hitchcock’s THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH in 1934 and Renoir’s THE HUMAN BEAST in 1938. His sharply contrasting lighting in DAY BREAK enhanced Carné’s and Prévert’s renowned “poetic realism” with a splendid expressionist note and despair.

The building backdrop – which is very much a character in this film – was placed in exactly the same spot as the HÔTEL DU NORD backdrop. To exacerbate the claustrophobic feeling in the room into which Gabin withdraws, Carné demanded that the backdrop should have four walls, and that the cast and crew should only enter and exit from above.

DAY BREAK exudes tragedy the instant it starts: a man is sentenced to die, on account of his love story-cum-drama as much as social fatality. He is a blue-collar worker standing alone against the world. This atmosphere mirrors the mood in France when World War II was dawning and the Front Populaire’s dream has already perished.
This masterpiece has been restored by STUDIOCANAL to 4K standards. It will be presented next May at the Cannes Film Festival, in the Cannes Classics section.
The film will then be released in cinemas, on Blu-ray and on DVD, in France and abroad, in 2014.

DAY BREAK (LE JOUR SE LEVE - 1939)
A drama by Marcel Carné
Featuring Jean Gabin, Arletty, Jules Berry, Bernard Blier, Jacqueline Laurent
A building in the middle of a working class neighbourhood provides the backdrop. Loud voices and then a gunshot ring out on the top floor. A door opens and a mortally wounded man hurtles down the stairs. His murderer, François barricades himself in his room as policemen start rushing into the building and other tenants start remarking on the event. The police officers climb onto the roof, a crowd gathers, and François, the besieged sandblasting line worker, remembers… his love for Françoise, the pretty florist who had a crush on Valentin, a dashing dog handler.

THE SEVENTH SEAL

04/15/2014

The Black Death is ravaging Europe when disillusioned knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) returns from the Crusades, encounters Death (Bengt Ekerot) and asks him for one last chance, challenging him to a game of chess for the sole purpose of pre-empting his demise.

THE SEVENTH SEAL, a mystical epic by Ingmar Bergman, won the Jury’s Special Prize at the Cannes Cinema Festival in 1957 and...

JACQUES TATI’S COMPLETE WORKS, FULLY RESTORED AND IN HIGH-DEFINITION, AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER STARTING 18 FEBRUARY

02/18/2014

When you ask directors around the world to name one French filmmaker who has changed their perspective on their art and the world, they all – or almost – smile and mention Jacques Tati. In France, almost 20 million people have watched his films in cinemas, making him one of the most popular creators in film-making history. His one-of-a-kind creative flair, unparalleled insights into post-WWII...

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