Marcel Carne` & Jacques Prevert


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Jenny (1936)
6.5 Bizarre (1937)
6.8 Hotel du Nord (1938)
7.3 Harbor in the Fog (1938)
7.4 Daybreak (1939)
7.5 Children of Paradise (1945)
7.0 The Gates of Night (1946)
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If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me. Esponente di primo piano della generazione di poeti post-surrealista e contemporanea all'esistenzialismo, influenzata dal teatro dell'assurdo e pregna dei valori resistenziali, che annovera anche Char, Michaux e Ponge, Jacques Prévert è fu secondo poeta Francese, dopo Jean Cocteau, a cimentarsi con successo nel cinema. Per quanto il suo contributo non sia mai andato al di là della sceneggiatura, Prévert impresse al realismo poetico il tono anti-accademico, colloquiale e popolare, tenero e malinconico, umano ed erotico, semplice ed emotivo, tipico della sua poesia, che già aveva applicato con esiti bizzarri e suggestivi al teatro e alla canzone (musiche di Joseph Kosma). Nel cinema trovò uno strumento ideale per la sua critica del potere condotta attraverso l'assurdo, per i suoi dialoghi brillanti e graffianti, condotti attraverso i luoghi comuni del parigino medio, per il suo mondo manicheo e metaforico condotto attraverso una galleria di esistenze trasfigurate.

Esordì nel 1932 scrivendo per il fratello Pierre il testo L'affaire est dans le Sac, farsa amara, assurda, poetica. Nel 1935 lavorò con Jean Renoir a Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (strana sorta di film noir infarcito di gag sarcastiche) e nel 1936 iniziò la collaborazione con Marcel Carné che si sarebbe protratta per nove film e per dodici anni. Carne' era stato critico cinematografico che propugnava un cinema populista, e poi assistente di Jacques Feyder (1928-35).

Prévert trovò in Carné il cineasta in grado di trasfigurare sullo schermo le sue invenzioni letterarie, conferendo una drammatica consistenza visiva alla sua visione fantastica della realtà. I loro film furono perciò delle variazioni sul tema centrale del male trionfante, al quale fa da sfondo una società nemica e crudele, o, se si preferisce, tema complementare dell'amore immortale, al quale fa da sfondo il sogno di una impossibile redenzione. Sempre col dito puntato contro la società, la coppia Prévert-Carné espresse una morale funesta, che rispecchiava il pessimismo seguito alla fine del Fronte Popolare e al governo fascista di Vichy. Il loro eroe-tipo è un operaio trasformato in criminale dall'ingiustizia della società, che sogna un paradiso terrestre dove l'amore sia possibile, ma a cui si oppone il Destino. Il surrealismo di Prévert si stempera in un cupo fatalismo esistenziale, il populismo di Carné in un'ideologia simbolista. E l'operaio, decantato dai canoni estetici del Fronte, decade a pura astrazione, vittima dei due grandi enti metafisici, il Destino e l'Amore, che affronta stoicamente la disfatta.

Jenny (1936), un melodramma sentimentale, e Drole de Drame/ Bizarre (1937), spumeggiante commedia degli equivoci set in Victorian London (nella quale a un certo punto un uomo sotto il suo vero nome deve fingere di essere un assassino e sotto uno pseudonimo deve indagare proprio su quell'omicidio), preludono a Quai des Brumes/ Harbor in the Fog/ Port of Shadows (1938), which introduced in earnest the archetypes of poetic realism: a romantic concept of destiny, desperate and doom-laden plots, idealization of ordinary lives, a contemporary social or political background, quasi-expressionistic urban claustrophobia, chiaroscuro lighting.

La vicenda è introdotta da due oscuri figuri, un vagabondo e un pittore sordidi, esemplari della fauna del porto che qui rappresentano il Destino. I due teneri amanti sono circondati da un'ostilità totale, che penetra perfino nelle cose impersonata da due viscidi esseri come il bandito e il commerciante gobbo. Il cliché di Pepè le Moko è rispettato fino in fondo: ma l'atmosfera è più pesante, e il film brulica di personaggi minori.

Jean Gabin, un disertore, capita in una locanda ai margini del porto, dove incontra un pittore d'umore tetro, un ubriaco, un cane che gli si affeziona, un oste che gli offre pane e formaggio e un'orfana dall'aria spaventata; nel frattempo un commerciante brutto e gobbo apparentemente onesto viene infastidito da una banda di giovinastri, che lo inseguono fino alla locanda; l'oste tiene alla larga i teppisti sparando loro addosso, la ragazza si tiene nascosta al commerciante, il quale è sporco di sangue; Gabin cerca un abito civile, e il pittore decide di lasciargli i suoi e di annegarsi; Gabin intanto accompagna la ragazza, che gli mette in tasca dei soldi di nascosto; la difende da uno dei tre banditi, umiliandolo in pubblico. Entrambi sono soli e braccati: lei, orfana, è contesa dal tutore, il commerciante cinico ed equivoco, e dal bandito, vile e debosciato, e vorrebbe ricostruirsi una vita. Entrambi sono alla ricerca di una nuova identità. Il commerciante offre a Gabin soldi, documenti e un vestito se in cambio lui accetta di uccidere il bandito; ma lui ottiene le stesse cose prendendo gli abiti del pittore. Adesso è conteso fra l'amore per la ragazza e il desiderio di partire. Viene scoperto il cadavere orrendamente mutilato di un amico della ragazza, e lei capisce che è stato il suo tutore ad ucciderlo per gelosia; invece la polizia ricerca il disertore, smascherato dalla ragazza, il tutore sta per violentarla quando sopraggiunge Gabin, in procinto di imbarcarsi per il Sud America, e l'uccide ferocemente; ma così attira gli inseguitori e, prima che riesca a salire sulla nave, viene assassinato alle spalle dal bandito che aveva umiliato.

Dopo che Carné ebbe dato sfogo alle sue brame populiste dirigendo in perfetta solitudine il suo film piu` pessimista, Hotel du Nord (1938), dramma cupo sceneggiato da Henri Jeanson e Jean Aurenche, la coppia si riunì per allestire Le Jour Se Leve/ Daybreak (1939), resoconto ossessivamente in stile di "kammerspiel" delle ultime ore di vita di un operaio onesto (Gabin), che, barricato in una stanza e circondato dalla polizia, passa in rassegna i momenti che lo hanno spinto a uccidere per gelosia, prima di suicidarsi alle prime ore dall'alba. Di flash-back in flash-back (il tempo scorre lentamente) affiorano i simboli metafisici del Destino (il cielo, l'alba). The symphony of flashbacks is used to weave the ultimate poem of gloom.

A blind man is walking up the stairs of a five-story building when a middle-aged man walks out of an apartment and wobbles towards the stairs holding his belly. He has been shot and is dying. He rolls down the stairs and the blind man calls for help. The cops arrive. All the neighbors have assembled on the stairs but nobody dares knock at the door where the murder was committed. The cops knock and the young man who is locked inside tells them to go away. The cops go and ask for reinforcements. The guards surround the building and mount a siege. The neighbors testify that Francois, the killer, is a good man. Francois, alone in his room, reminisces how the story began.
Early in the morning he went to work at the foundry as usual on his bicycle. A young florist named Francoise had come to bring flowers for the manager's wife. Francois and Francoise had found out that they were both orphans. Francois started seeing Francoise but one evening followed her to a cafe, where she met a middle-aged animal trainer, Valentin. That night Valentin's assistant and previous lover, the unhibited Clara, walked out on Valentin, tired of his lies and his womanizing.
The guards try to shoot their way into Francois' apartment but he barricades himself with an armoir.
Then he resumes his recollections. He started dating the sensual Clara. Two months later Valentin showed up demanding a clarification. Valentin knew that Francois was still seeing Francoise while sleeping with Clara. Valentin claimed to be Francoise's long-lost father and expressed his disapproval for their relationship, as Francois' job at the foundry had no future and was likely to result in death or injury. Francois hated him even more for being the father who abandoned her in an orphanage and defiantly stated that he loved Francoise.
Francoise told Francois that it was a lie: Valentin was not her father, just someone who had been nice to her. Francois asked her to get rid of him, and in return promised to get rid of Clara. Clara took it with little drama.
A crowd has assembled around the building: it's his coworkers and friends, who are ready to stand by him. Francoise also arrives but she faints when she realizes what is going on. Ironically, it's Clara who takes care of her. The cops receive more reinforcements and begin to push back the crowd.
The final flashback shows how Valentin, desperate that Francoise was avoiding him, went to visit Francois hiding a gun in his coat. He failed to convince Francois with his sweet talk. Then he started boasting of having had sex with Francoise. Francois lost his temper, grabbed Valentin's gun and shot him.
Francois grabs the same gun and points it to himself. Two cops have climbed the roof to throw tear-gas grenades into the apartment, but Francois has already killed himself.

La leggenda medievale Le Visiteurs du Soir/ The Devil's Envoys (1942), traboccante di simboli, con tanto di demonio, castellano e menestrello, e Lumiere d'Ete (1943), diretto da Gremillon, sono i primi film di Prévert in cui l'amore alla fine trionfa (fosse anche per fuggire alla censura del regime fascista, che non tollerava disfattismi).

The sweeping epic Les Enfants Du Paradis/ Children of Paradise (1945), his most spectacular and expensive film, utilized the legendary mime Jean-Louis Barrault to evoke a delicately ambiguous atmosphere in which both love and crime can thrive. Here Prevert's usual theme of destiny is coupled with nostalgia, in search of a lost paradise. The setting is a 19th-century Paris that seems to come out of a serialized feuilleton.

In the 19th century an overcrowded street where dozens of street performers try to make a living in their humble booths. One of them invites the crowd to view "truth" herself, which is nothing bat a naked woman rotating inside a barrel filled with water, so that only her head is visible. The young and handsome Frederick dreams of becoming one of them, and the most famous of all of them. He tries to sneak into a booth not to avoid paying the ticket but to talk to the manager. Then he sees the beautiful Garance (the woman of the "truth") and immediately changes goal. He tries to seduce her but she coldly bids him goodbye. As she disappears in the crowd, Frederick picks another girl and starts the exact same routine with her.
Garance walks into the store of a public scribe, who actually runs a criminal gang when he doesn't help illiterate men write their letters. Pierre-Francois is a nihilist: he hates everybody and pledges to become a murderer. He is fully aware that he will end up on the guillotine, and proud of it. He tells Garance he doesn't love her. Garance tells him that she finds him amusing like a show at the theater. Pierre-Francois is, in fact, writing a comedy for the theater. After Pierre-Francois sells his loot to the ugly Jericho (so called because he always carries a trumpet), they walk together back into the crazy boulevard and stop by a booth where a pompous man, Anselme, invites the crowd to enter the theater and makes fun of his retarded son Baptiste, who is sitting next to the door, staring at the crowd without showing any sign of intelligence. A fat bourgeois laughs at him while Pierre-Francois steals his gold watch. When the fat man realizes that the watch is gone, he accuses Garance of being the thief and calls the police. There are no witnesses and the guards are about to arrest Garance, when a voice calls their attention: it's the "retarded" Baptiste, who turns out to be a mime. He mimes what happened to the police and to the crowd. Garance is released and thanks the mime with a flower.
Jericho sells his merchandise to the musichall that looks like a mini-circus with clowns and acrobats getting ready for their show. One of them is the beautiful Nathalie, who is sad because she is not desired by the man she loves. Jericho reads her palm and kindly foretells her marriage to her beloved one. Frederick walks in and tells Nathalie that he would like to talk to the manager. The manager is hysterical because his circus is torn apart by the rivalry between two families. Backstage Frederick watches the pantomime that Nathalie and Anselme are enacting on stage in front of a rowdy crowd. When Anselme is hit too hard by an actor who belongs to the other family, Anselme calls his family to his aid, and the other calls his family, and the two families of actor, midgets and acrobats engage in a colossal fight on stage. The manager lowers the curtain. The audience boos and demands their money back. Frederick volunteers to save the show by interpreting a popular skit as a lion. They need a Pierrot for that skit and, against the opposition of Anselme, they decide to send Baptiste on stage. Baptiste is talking with Nathalie: it's Baptiste the man she loves. Baptiste is shy and aloof: he likes her but does not love her. He admits that he is in love with another woman, the stranger who gave him the flower (and whom he had already seen as the "truth").
Frederick drinks with Baptiste to celebrate their debut on stage. Frederick is convinced that playing the lion was just the first step towards great dramatic achievements: he dreams of playing all the great men who lived. Baptiste takes him to the madame from whom he rents a room, and Frederick takes a room in the same place, while flirting with the madame. Although it's already late, Baptiste leaves them to go out, and the madame tells Frederick that it happens every night. Baptiste meets a blind panhandler and starts chatting with him. They become friends and walk into a tavern together. People are dancing at the sound of a band that plays sprightly popular tunes. The blind man stops pretending and admits that he is not blind at all. Jericho walks in, trying to sell a book on the interpretation of dreams. He is disappointed to find Baptiste in such a dive and reproaches him. Pierre and Garance walk in. Baptiste is struck by lightning. Garance accepts to dance with him. Pierre, jealous, asks one of his gangsters to throw Baptiste out. Baptiste walks back in, beats up the gangster and offers to take Garance home. Pierre doesn't seem too upset: he is more interested in planning the next heist.
Baptiste learns that Garance doesn't have a home. He takes her to the same madame, who eventually shows up while she's still buttoning her vest (a sign that she was having sex with Frederick). Garance undresses in front of Baptiste who doesn't know what to do, other than tell her how much he loves her. She tells him that she is not the dream woman he thinks. Minutes later she proves it, when she meets Frederick, who is staying in the room next to her, and after exchanging just a few sentences she is ready to sleep with him.
Baptiste becomes a star. His own father now advertises him as a great mime. Baptiste has designed his own pantomime. In the lengthy sequence he as Pierrot falls in love with a statue, which is played by Garance. Frederick as Harlequin seduces the statue that comes alive and follows him. Everybody thinks that Baptiste is enjoying the success, but Nathalie understands that his stories are allegories for the desperation that is in his heart. Nathalie is desperate because Baptiste does not love her; Baptiste is desperate because Garance does not love him; Garance, in turn, is unhappy with Frederick; and Frederick is unhappy to be a mime: his dream is to be an actor. Frederick breaks the chain of heartbroken people because he is a selfish and cold-hearted womanizer, while the others are looking for more.
During the pantomime another man has fallen in love with Garance: the wealthy and powerful count Edouard. He visits her backstage offering her a fortune if she will become his mistress. She is disgusted and throws him out. Baptiste makes a scene, talking about death. Nathalie overhears and tells him that they are made to live together, but clearly Baptiste is not listening to her heart.
Introduced by Garance, Pierre has rented a room in the madame's establishment. The madame has a bad opinion of Garance and a good opinion of Frederick. Pierre is actually plotting to rob debt collectors in that room. The first one narrowly escapes, and Pierre has to flee. The madame suspects that Garance was an accomplice. The police arrest Garance, who can save herself only by invoking the help of the count.
Several years later Frederick has become a famous actor. He spends more than he makes, and has two girlfriends. He is chased by a crowd of anxious creditors, jealous husbands and abandoned lovers. On stage he provokes the authors by changing the script as it suits him. He makes fun of the inept comedy but his self-parody wins over the audience. The show is a big success but the authors demand his apologies. He challenges them to a duel at dawn. In his room he is met by Pierre, whom he doesn't know. Pierre demands money, as a matter of life or death. Frederick finds it amusing to give money to a complete stranger and obliges. Pierre explains that the matter of life or death was... his, Frederick's: Pierre was ready to cut his throat. Frederick is not too shocked to find out that the object of his generosity turns out to be a thief and a murderer. In fact, they become friends, and Pierre follows him to the duel at dawn. Frederick shows up drunk, but survives.
Days later Frederick wants to attend a performance by Baptiste. It is sold out, as usual, but a friend helps him get into the booth of a mysterious woman who comes to see Baptiste every night incognito. Frederick recognizes Garance. She has been living abroad with her count, but unhappy. Frederick realizes that Garance only loved Baptiste and is jealous for the first time in his life. Frederick walks back stage to reconnect with Baptiste. The mime who turned the pantomime into a respectable art is now married to Nathalie, who is finally happy. They have a child. Jericho walks in. He is now a pathetic misfit whom everybody shuns. There is a better dressed and educated man who provides the costumes to the theater. Jericho cries that nobody ever loved him and he lives alone. He is the one who foretold the future to Nathalie, the future that came true. Now he warns her that Garance has come back. In fact, Garance has asked Frederick to deliver a message to Baptiste: that she would like to say hello before she leaves again. Nathalie sends her child to Garance's booth to tell the femme fatale that they are now happy. Garance gets the message and exits the theater. In the meantime Frederick delivers the message to Baptiste, who looks at his wife in the eyes but then abandons the stage to rush to Garance's booth, only to find it empty. However, he has de facto confessed that Garance is still the biggest love of his life, despite all those years of happy marriage to his devout Nathalie.
At the count's mansion Garance is met by the perfidious Pierre. He is interested in the count, but more interested in his functions as a patron of the art than in his money. Pierre has become famous too, although as a criminal. On the way out Pierre briefly meets the count who is coming home, and the two almost challenge each other at a duel, but Pierre cynically tells the count that he doesn't risk his life in duels. The count is extremely jealous, and is very unhappy that he never conquered the heart of Garance. Garance admires him and is grateful to him, but makes no mystery that she only loved one man in her life.
That man, Baptiste, is alove in a small room of the madame's establishment. His show has been canceled. Nathalie inquires discreetly about his health, and is hopeful that he will eventually come back to her.
Garance has been told that Frederick, having finally felt what jealousy is, has decided to stage Shakespeare's "Othello". Garance attends the premiere with the count. The count is madly jealous of Frederick, even if Garance tells him that he's not the man she's in love with. Baptiste is also walking into the theater. At the end the count insists on meeting the protagonist. Garance, left alone, sees Baptiste. The two walk to the veranda and kiss. Pierre has followed them and is determined to take his revenge on the count. The count is busy trying to provoke Frederick into a duel. Pierre insults him, but the count knows that Pierre does not accept duels, so the count simply asks the bouncers to throw him out. Pierre opens the curtains on the veranda (a mini-theater in its own) so that the whole crowd of aristocrats (the audience of this mini-theater) can witness Garance cheating on the count with Baptiste. The count, furious, challenges Frederick to a duel, even though Frederick had nothing to do with all of this, and even though he has just been presented with the evidence that Frederick is not the man with whom Garance is in love. Garance is indifferent to what will happen in the morning to two of the men who loved her: she now wants to spend the night with her one and only love, and the only one of all of them who has never slept with her.
There shall be no duel though: Pierre kills the count in the Turkish baths. Then calmly waits to be arrested, knowing that they will behead him for the murder. He has pride, as always.
When the lovers wake up, it's carnival in the boulevard: thousands of people dancing and singing, mostly dressed in costumes such as the ones used by the old musichall of Baptiste and Nathalie. Nathalie walks into their room begging Baptiste to attend to their child, who has been looking forward to the carnival and is dressed up for the occasion. Garance picks up her stuff and proceeds to leave the room. Nathalie confronts her telling her that it's too easy to come back after six years while another woman has been living day after day with Baptiste. Garance replies that she has lived with Baptiste in her mind every day; and then leaves them. Nathalie asks Baptiste if he too has thought of Garance every single day, even at night: Baptiste does not answer, but runs after Garance. He is engulfed in the crowd of the carnival, trapped by dozens of people dancing around him dressed like his Pierrot.

"Othello" is a tragedy of jealousy, but Les Enfants Du Paradis is a tragedy of frustrated love: at the very end Nathalie realizes that her hope was in vain, that there is no hope at all, that Baptiste will always belong to his first love.

There is a lot of cinema (or theater) within the cinema. There is a continuous mirror game of audience and protagonist. The ultimate audience is the colorful crowd of the boulevard. The ultimate protagonist is Love.

Il "Boulevard du Crime" brulica di tipi pittoreschi; è un quartiere di artisti e di banditi, un continuo carnevale di costumi e di maschere. Ma il dolore della brava moglie commuove la ragazza, che decide di andarsene: e il povero Pierrot la insegue invano fra la folla di Pierrot che ha invaso le strade per il carnevale.

L'artista viene visto nel film secondo due accezioni diverse: l'attore è anarchico quanto il bandito; il mimo è Pierrot quanto l'uomo della strada. Le tre figure sono così identificate in un solo carattere: l'uomo comune, che la società può rendere a seconda delle circostanze criminale, genio o nullità. Sull'arte Prévert riflesse a lungo: Barrault recita Deburau che recita Pierrot; si rappresenta l'"Otello", e fra le righe si può leggere effettivamente una parafrasi dell'Otello nella vicenda stessa del film (come di Romeo e Giulietta).

Prévert and Carne' returned to poetic realism with Les Portes de la Nuit/ The Gates of Night (1946), set in a crepuscular Paris where ordinary people still live in poverty after the end of the war, a film originally conceived for Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich.
It's a poetic melodrama that mixes a love triangle with post-war traumas. There's the hatred still being nurtured for the traitors by their victims. There's a triangle: an unhappy wife, a handsome worker, an abandoned husband. And there's a simple love story that is just beginning, the ray of hope in a very gloomy landscape. Destiny is a co-protagonist of the story, here incarnated as a clochard.

France has just been liberated from the Nazi occupation. On a metro car Jean/Diego (Yves Montand), dressed elegantly, is observed by a man who is dressed like a clochard. A torrent of people gets off the tram and pass in front of a middle-aged man selling flashlights and directing people to his daughter, who sells croissants at the bottom of the stairs. A young man is staring at her, clearly in love. For a second the mysterious clochard is next to them and disrupts their staring silently at each other, but then he moves on. The girl asks the boy if she is the reason that he comes there all the time and he confirms. Diego walks into a building, looks for a woman and tells her that he's a friend of her husband Raymond and announces his death in an accident a few months earlier. She bursts out laughing and Raymond walks in, very alive. Raymond and Diego hug, amazed that the other survived the war. They were both communist activists. Diego was betrayed by someone whom he didn't see but he will always recognize his voice and laughter. To celebrate, they decide to go to an expensive restaurant. On the stairs they meet Quinquina, the flashlight seller, who has many children and gets into an argument with the grumpy landlord Senechal. Quinquina's wife is worried about their daughter Etiennette, the croissant seller, who hasn't come home, and sends Quinquina to look for her. Quinquina wonders around in the night and is approached by the mysterious clochard of the metro, who talks about destiny and tells him that his daughter is happy. Quinquina ignores him, thinking he's a madman, but we see that Etiennette is kissing her new boyfriend under a bridge and is indeed happy. Diego and Raymond are dining at the restaurant with Raymond's wife and their child when a playboy walks in with a girlfriend. He is Guy, the son of Senechal, who boasts of being a hero but nobody seems to know for what. Guy makes fun of Raymond, a communist, eating in an expensive restaurant, but Diego shuts him up. Diego tells Raymond that Guy looks somehow familiar. The mysterious clochard walks in and whispers to Guy's girlfriend, a gypsy and fortune-teller, that she is going to die that very night. The mysterious clochard then turns to Diego and starts playing a song in his harmonica: Diego initially can't place the song but then he remembers he heard it before the war in San Francisco's Chinatown, where he was almost killed in a fight. The mysterious man sits at Diego's table and starts talking about destiny. He asks Diego if he knows why he came to the restaurant, and Diego jokes that he had an appointment with the most beautiful woman in the world. The mysterious man moves the blinds of the window and Diego sees a beautiful woman waiting in a car for a man who just walked into the restaurant for a drink. Diego decides that it's time to leave. Annoyed that the stranger is not leaving them alone, Diego asks him who he is and he replies: "I am Destiny". Diego, Raymond and his family run into Quinquina who still hasn't found his daughter and informs Diego that he missed the last metro train. Raymond invites him to sleep at their place and they all walk back to the building. Meanwhile, the beautiful woman, Malou, is telling her rich husband in their expensive car that she doesn't love him anymore and wants to be free like she was when she was living and working in New York. She is disgusted that he profited from the war, living in exile while others were fighting and dying. Malou walks away and her husband chases her, but the destiny man helps her hide from him. She remembers him as a street musician of the neighborhood where she grew up. Haunted by memories of her childhood, she walks to Senechal's building and knocks at Senechal's door. He doesn't recognize her but she introduces herself as his daughter Malou. He's happy to see her after many years. Malou tells him that her mother died in New York before the war, and we learn that the couple split: the mother emigrated taking their daughter Malou with her, while Senechal stayed with their son Guy. Meanwhile, Diego wakes up because Raymond's little child is sneaking out of the apartment in the middle of the night. He tells Diego that he is keeping a secret. The secret turns out to be a bunch of kittens that he and the Quinquina children are hiding for fear that the adults will kill them. Just then Malou is walking around her old backyard and runs into them. Diego tries to cheer up the clearly sad Malou. Diego talks about the boat he had in the Eastern Islands and shows her a picture, and she is sure that she saw it before. Unseen, the clochard plays his song in the harmonica, and both recognize it: she remembers that a street musician used to play it when she was a child, and he remembers that he heard it on that Christmas day. She reveals that she was in New York and sang that song on the radio. He heard it from her. That day he got into the fight and forgot about the song. Meanwhile, Guy returns home and starts packing frantically. Senechal hasn't seen him in two months and Guy announces that he's leaving for Spain: he is afraid of being arrested. We learn that both father and son were fascists who helped torture communists. He picks up also a pistol. Guy sees a roll of dollars that Senechal has prepared for Malou, thinking that Malou is penniless. Guy takes the dollars, indifferent to his sister's conditions and indifferent to his father's pleas. Guy laughs loud and Diego, who is with Malou in the backyard, recognizes the laughter: Guy is the traitor. Diego walks in and confronts Guy, and guesses that Guy also reported Raymond to the fascists. Guy pulls out the gun to kill Diego but Diego beats him up. Raymond arrives and Diego tells him that Guy is the traitor who turned them in. Malou walks in and Guy calls her a "gold digger" because she married a rich man. Diego and Raymond leave: they cannot prove that Guy is the traitor. Malou leaves with them. Guy takes his pistol and walks away. Guy walks past a bridge where a woman just drowned: the gypsy fortune-teller. The destiny man is there and Guy, who was at the restaurant, comments that the clochard didn't bring good luck to the woman. Guy walks about his own death and the clochard reassures him that he won't drown. Malou's husband is driving around looking for Malou and stops by the bridge inquiring how died. He is relieved to be told that it wasn't Malou. Upon hearing the name Malou, Guy realizes that the rich man is his sister's husband and offers to take him to Malou. The clochard tries in vain to dissuade the husband. Guy hands his pistol to the husband warning him that Malou is with a dangerous man. Diego and Malou are in a cafe'. Diego is romancing her. The clochard walks in, angry that she is not listening to his warnings, and insults Diego telling him that he is a silly dreamer. Diego beats him up. As they walk out and kiss, Diego and Malou are spotted by the husband and Guy who have been driving around looking for them. The husband confronts Malou, Malou tells him that their marriage is finished, the husband shoots her. Guy flees, unseen. Diego loads Malou, who is still alive, in the car and drives towards the hospital, while the husband is delirious in the back seat with Malou. Guy wanders alone in the night and ends up at the train station and lets a train run over him. At the hospital Diego lies that it was an accident. Malou dies. Diego walks away silently. At the metro he meets Quinquina who tells him that Etiennette has returned home and confessed that she's in love with a boy. Quinquina remarks that love solves a lot of problems.

L'ultimo film di Prevert con Carné fu La Fleur de l'Age (1947).

Dopo la separazione, Carné si dedico` a un cinema antiquato e a volte scadente, mentre Prévert sceneggia ancora per diversi registi (fino al 1958), ottenendo però risultati di un certo rilievo soltanto col fratello in Voyage Surprise (1947), film comico ad inseguimento, e in La Bergere et le Ramoneur(1953) dell'animatore Paul Grimault, fiaba d'amore montata con infinita pazienza dall'autore e musicato da Joseph Kosma.

La poetica semplicità di Prévert fu, nel bene e nel male, il realismo poetico per eccellenza, espressione della malinconia elegante e fatalista dei cafè.

Carne' also directed La Marie du Port (1950), an adaptation of Georges Simenonís novel, Juliette ou La Clef Des Songes (1951), an old Cocteau project finally realized, Therese Raquin (1953), an adaptation of Zola's novel transposed to the 1950s, L'Air de Paris (1954), which reunited the stars of Le Jour se Leve, the musical comedy Le Pays d'ou je Viens (1956), his first color film.

A new generation of French directors was attacking the old guard. In 1954 Truffaut wrote an article in Cahiers du Cinema against Marcel Carne' and other directors, whom he didn't see as "auteurs" because they didn't write their own screenplays and because they didn't film in the streets but in the studios.

Les Tricheurs/ The Cheaters (1958), with an impressive jazz score, began a moralistic and paternalistic trilogy about juvenile delinquents, possibly inspired by Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955), completed by Terrain Vague (1960) and Les Jeunes Loups/ The Young Wolves (1968). But the nouvelle vague made his films look obsolete.

He returned to the film noir with Trois Chambres a` Manhattan (1965) and Les Assassins de l'Ordre (1971). He adapted Wells' novel Le Merveilleuse Visite/ The Wonderful Visit (1974) and never finished his last movie Mouche (1991). He died in 1996.


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