Le jour se lève Screen 6 articles

Le jour se lève

1939

Le jour se lève Poster
  • The screenplay is by Jacques Prevert, the most accomplished dialogist of the period, and the famous sets, with their overtones of German expressionism, are by Alexander Trauner. Only the direction, by Marcel Carne, seems less than it could be; there's a lack of imagination and suppleness in the images that pulls the film down.

  • The meandering verbal games in Le Jour Se Lève come across too much as ornate screenwriting, as if a piece of high-classical theatre has been shoe-horned into the grot-flecked alleys and boarding houses of provincial France. It's confusing (albeit beautifully executed) final shot can be read as a statement of indifference and the fact the world keeps turned as foolish men spray bullets at one another.

  • Possibly the best of the Carné-Prévert films, certainly their collaboration at its most classically pure, with Gabin a dead man from the outset as his honest foundry worker, hounded into jealousy and murder by a cynical seducer, holes up with a gun in an attic surrounded by police, remembering in flashback how it all started while he waits for the end. Fritz Lang might have given ineluctable fate a sharper edge (less poetry, more doom), but he couldn't have bettered the performances.

  • The dialogue, by Jacques Prévert, has a self-conscious streetwise flavor that the actors deliver with extra spice. Blending romantic despair with violent moods, theatrical volubility with oppressive silence, the movie captures a society of contradictions at a tragic breaking point.

  • Following on the heels of the recent restoration of Carné’s epic Children of Paradise, the final result is masterful, leaving only a couple of scenes lingering in slightly fuzzy focus.

  • Combined with imagery that evokes German Expressionism and would later inspire film noir, Italian neorealism and the French New Wave, the movement and the films born of it combine the atmospheric capabilities inherent to cinema and the lyrical persuasion of poetry.

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