Rene' Clement
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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René Clémènt, dopo aver sceneggiato una serie di film comici [fra i quali Soigne tou gauche (1937), con Tati] e dopo tre documentari di carattere archeologico e contemporaneo, diresse nel 1944 il suo primo film, La bataille du rail, un tributo semidocumentario ai ferrovieri che presero parte alla Resistenza, col quale Clémènt si presentava come il Rossellini francese. Realizzò invece con Cocteau la fiaba coreografica La belle et la béte (1946) e con Les maudits (1947) diede un dramma apocalittico e metaforico sull'autodistruzione del demone nazista e diresse Le pére tranquil (1946), di gran lunga il miglior film di Noel-Noel.

Nel 1949, sceneggiatore Zavattini, diresse Au delà des grilles (1948), un film noir con Gabin nella parte del fuggitivo, braccato dalla polizia per aver assassinato la moglie, che is innamora di una locandiera. Nel 1952 giunge il successo di Jeux interdits, malinconica denuncia degli orrori e dell'assurdità della guerra attraverso tenere scene d'infanzia:

Una bambina di cinque anni perde i genitori durante un bombardamento aereo e vaga sperduta per la campagna tenendo in braccio il suo cagnolino morto; incontra un bambino di undici anni che le consiglia di seppellirlo e poi la conduce a casa, dai suoi genitori contadini; i bambini, affascinati dal rituale della sepoltura, allestiscono per gioco un cimitero per gli animali, rubando le croci dal vicino camposanto e perfino il crocefisso dalla chiesa; per far contenta l'amichetta, il bambino le procura le salme da inumare; quando i contadini scoprono il loro funebre svago, non esitano a punire la piccola spedendola in un orfanotrofio: la disperazione dell'innocente, che non ha capito perché i suoi genitori sono morti, perchè si seppelliscono i defunti e perché la separano dal suo amico, ma intanto tutti continuano a farle del male, non ha risposta.

Nel 1954 è la volta di una commedia ironica su Monsieur Ripois, cinico seduttore che vaga senza lavoro per Londra e seduce e abbandona una donna d'affari, una brava ragazza e una prostituta che lo disgusta; riesce a farsi sposare da un'ereditiera, ma, innamoratosi di un'affascinante amica della consorte, e da lei respinto, minaccia il suicidio, ma per disgrazia cade davvero dalla finestra riducendosi a un demente. Del 1956 è Gervaise, la mediocre trasposizione di "L'Assomoir" di Emile Zola, che descrive la sordida vita di un disgraziato.

Gervaise is a good woman who spends the night on the balcony waiting for her man to come back home. But he, Lantier, is partying next door with prostitutes Adele and Virginie. The whole neighborhood knows. When he finally comes home in the morning, his idea of providing for Gervaise and their two children is to pawn a few clothes. Nonetheless she's happy when he smiles at her. But this time he really walks out on her, taking all his belongings with him. Gervaise is told by her children while she is washing the clothes at the public lavatory. Virginie comes to make fun with her, because Lantier has run away with her sister Adele. Gervaise, after all, was not married to him. Gervaise attacks her and they fight on the floor, amusing the crowd of women. Virginie swears revenge.
Gervaise finds a good man who is willing to marry her. For a while she is happy. They work hard but he is a nice man and she has what she always wanted: a family. She is saving money to start her own boutique. Alas, Gervaise falls down a roof and remains disabled. She spends her savings to take care of him. The blacksmith, Goujet, a friend of her husband inherits some money and lends it to her so she can open her own laundry. She's happy again. One day she meets Virginie, who got mattied with a cop and moved to an apartment nearby. Virginie is friendly and willing to forget their past. She tells her that Lantier left Adele and may come back. Goujet even takes one of Gervaise's sons as an apprentice in his shop. The shop is doing well, and Gervaise hires more women to help her, but her husband, who is still not working, is becoming a drunkard. One day she finds out that he has been spending the money that she saved to pay back Goujet. Ashamed, she goes to apologize to Goujet, but he doesn't want any money. He is obviously in love with her and almost kisses her. In the meantime, Virginie tells her that Lantier is back.
Lantier shows up at a big dinner at Virginie's place. Instead of being jealous, her husband welcomes Lantier (who hardly cares to see his children) and invites him to stay. Gervaise realizes that it's all been planned by Virginie. In the meantime, Goujet has been arrested for leading a workers' protest and is sentenced to one year in prison. The bad man is a guest in her house and the good man can no longer help her.
The husband gets worse and worse. One night, while her husband is brought back unconscious by the cop, she cannot resist Lantier's seduction. That is the beginning of a sordid menage a trois. The husband even pawns sheets of her customers to pay for his drinking. Goujet is released from jail but decides to leave. Gervaise entrusts her older and hard-working son to him.
She has to work hard and is behind paying rent to the landlord and the salary to her helper, while her two men indulge in a nice lifestyle. After she finds out that Lantier has been sleeping with Virginie too, Gervaise throws him out of the house. Lantier coldly proposes to her husband that they should sell the shop. It turns out Virginie is the one who is interested in buying it: now the whole plot is clear to Gervaise. She would be willing to continue the fight, but one night her husband goes mad and destroys the shop before dying. Gervaise is left with nothing. The daughter she had from her husband has to go around begging.

Pur saltando di palo in frasca, Clémènt ha definito per bene la sua personalità di regista: un provetto narratore, capace di condurre in porto qualsiasi soggetto e avvicinare lo spettatore, sollecitando i suoi appetiti sentimentali, avventurosi o comici. Fedele al proprio eclettismo, ha tentato la nouvelle vague

The thriller Plein Soleil/ Purple Noon (1959) is a very minor transposition of the novel "The Talented Mr Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith. In the book, the suspense is continuously recreated by a series of plot twists in which the protagonist basically challenges rationality, trying to find more and more subtle solutions to harder and harder problems that he himself has created. But Clement's film is a poor recreation of that suspense.

Tom is an insecure young man who has been sent by a wealthy American to bring back his playboy son Philippe, an old acquaitance of Tom, who is traveling in Italy with his fiance' Marge, an art scholar who is working on a book. Tom joins Philippe's decadent and carefree lifestyle in Italy. Philippe seems to agree to return home, but Tom soon realizes that he has no intention. Tom also realizes that Philippe has a lot of money. They go on a boat trip: the two men and the girl. Philippe plays a nasty joke on Tom, who almost dies of it. Tom tells Philippe that he thought of killing him in revenge, and get his money too; and Philippe sounds intrigued by the idea of being killed. Then Philippe and Marge have an argument and he throws her manuscript out of the boat. Marge demands to disembark at the first port. The two men continue the trip without her, and keep discussing Tom's plan to kill Philippe, a macabre joke. Then, suddenly, Tom pulls out a knife and kills his friend for real. He sails back home and begins to assume Philippe's identity. When a friend of Philippe finds out that he is impersonating Philippe, Tom has to commit a second murder. He then moves out of the hotel where everybody knows him as Philippe and takes a room in another hotel under his real name. Thus, from the police's point of view, Philippe disappears right after the murder of one of his friends. The police interrogates Marge as well to find out where Philippe is "hiding". Realizing that Marge still loves Philippe, Tom tells her that he knows where Philippe is hiding. But a woman who works for the police is eavesdropping and hears it. Tom has a new plan to get hold of Philippe's fortune. He writes a suicide letter to Philippe's mother and signs it "Philippe", a letter in which Philippe leaves everything to Marge. The police can't find Philippe where Tom told Marge he was. The case seems to be closed: Philippe murdered his friend, then committed suicide. Tom seduces Marge and they are about to go away together when the police accidentally finds the body of Philippe, still tied to his boat. la farsa Quelle Joie De Vivre (1961) ambientata nella Roma fascista, e il resistenziale Le Jour et l'Heure (1963), nel quale la Signoret si unisce ai partigiani con un aviatore americano. A parte l'altra rievocazione Paris Brule-t-il/ Is Paris Burning? (1966), fantacronaca della ritirata tedesca da Parigi durante la quale il comandante rifiuta di eseguire l'ordine dato da Hitler di bruciare Parigi, Clémènt si dedica al poliziesco, genere minore al quale si sposa felicemente il suo talento narrativo: Les Felins [(1964) Alain Delon braccato dai gangster chiede asilo a Jane Fonda], Passager de la Pluie (1969), La Maison Sous les Arbres (1971), La Course de la Lièvre à Travers Les Champs [(1972) il giovane Trintignant soccorre la vittima di un gruppo di zingari che gli affida una forte somma, ma il giovane finisce per cedere alla caccia degli zingari e diventare loro complice], Baby Sitter [(1975) un bambino e la sua baby sitter Sydne Rome nelle mani di una banda di rapitori].
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