Everyone is Talking About Cannes But My Mind’s in Paris

May 14, 2009

Cannes may be on industry minds but my mind is stuck in Paris.

Specifically, the 1830s Paris depicted in the film Children of Paradise.

Before I recommend this film, let me disclose a few ugly truths:

  • It’s in black and white;
  • It’s in French, with subtitles;
  • It’s over 3 hours long (two DVDs);
  • It’s main star plays a mime; and
  • There is more than one duel (though, I suspect some may appreciate this)

I saw this movie for the first time yesterday so I’m not quite ready to write a full review.  Instead, I’ll hand it over to the pros to prove that I’m not crazy to fall in love with the film despite the unmentionables I listed above.

All discussions of Marcel Carne‘s ”Children of Paradise” begin with the miracle of its making. Named at Cannes as the greatest French film of all time, costing more than any French film before it, ”Les Enfants du Paradis” was shot in Paris and Nice during the Nazi occupation and released in 1945. Its sets sometimes had to be moved between the two cities. Its designer and composer, Jews sought by the Nazis, worked from hiding. Carne was forced to hire pro-Nazi collaborators as extras; they did not suspect they were working next to resistance fighters. The Nazis banned all films over about 90 minutes in length, so Carne simply made two films, confident he could show them together after the war was over. The film opened in Paris right after the liberation, and ran for 54 weeks. It is said to play somewhere in Paris every day.

[Insert: Rachmaninoff background music here].

As I catch my breath and collect my thoughts about the film, I may as well drift back to the Cannes festival like everyone else.

Here are the films about which I’m most excited:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Interesting timing? Terry Gilliam introduces the Criterion Collection version “in which he saluted Children of Paradise as one of his favorites and a source of inspiration, because of its dreamlike quality.

This movie looks, well, magical. Even from the trailer, it looks like a beautiful movie to call your last. (R.I.P. Heath Ledger).

And, if Heath does not win another Academy Award for his performance, there’s a good chance that “Tony” also known as Heath Ledger-Johnny Depp-Collin Farrell-Jude Law may win People‘s “Sexiest Man of the Year .”

Micmacs à tire-larigot

From Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Amelie.

The White Ribbon

I tend to like German films.

– read. like. support. –

fye.com 25% Off Used DVDs Expires May 15

– read. like. support. –

Taking Woodstock

A Serious Man

Dare I say it after “Burn After Reading?” …okay, fine, the Coen Brothers deserve another chance.


(Did I mention my soft spot for animation?)


Not that I like horror films, but I do like Lars von Trier, Willem Dafoe, and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Inglourious Basterds

Hey, Quentin is the only U.S. director at the 2009 festival!

(Did I mention Brad Pitt is in it?)

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One Response to “ Everyone is Talking About Cannes But My Mind’s in Paris ”

  1. gimmeshelter on May 17, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    inglourious basterds looks extremely interesting….but i have to say, i don't know if i buy brad pitt as a bloodthirsty tarantino protagonist.

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