Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Les Enfants Du Paradis
Photographed By Alexandre Diallo
Christophe Josse's collection for the Spring and Summer 2011, reminds me of the movie "Les Enfants du Paradis" - "Children of Paradis" (1945). Mainly, the word association of the title of the film, and the feeling, that popped into my head, when I first saw the collection (this is what my DVD looks like). I didn't actually see it in person though. My friend, grad student, and sometimes photographer, Alex, attended the show. He lives in Paris (I should live in Paris).
The movie, set in the theatrical arena of the capital of France in the 19th century, revolves around a beautiful courtesan, Garance (Arletty), and the four men who are all in love with her. One of them, Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), is a theater mime. He's a beautiful pantomime. Climactic as you can be in his white harlequin costumes.
The film is directed by Marcel Carné and was been voted as the best French movie ever to be made in 1995. I've seen a lot of good French movies since then so I can't completely agree. But, I do agree with David and Margaret's take on the classic.
MARGARET: David. Oh, God.
DAVID: It is. It's a great film and, as you rightly said, it was made under extremely difficult circumstances. They started shooting it in 1942. There was an awful lot of difficulty, which you talked about. One of the things was that when it was finally released in 1945, after the liberation, it was sort of seen almost as a kind of symbol of France re-emerging and French cinema re-emerging after this terrible period of war and occupation.
MARGARET: Yes, and Alexander Trowner, who is a wonderful set designer, the most amazing sets in this film, he eventually went onto Hollywood, where he designed sets for Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT, for instance, among many others. He was a great designer.
DAVID: But, those sets are enormous.
DAVID: And the number of extras.
DAVID: This is sort of like huge. I think I read somewhere they had 20, 25,000 extras for some scenes. it's really amazing, given the circumstances in which the film was made.
MARGARET: I love this quote by Arletty, who was also accused of collaborating, because she had a relationship with a Luftwaffe officer during the war and she says, "My heart is French but my ass is international." I love that line.
DAVID: Yes. No, look, this is a wonderful film. I think you see it, you fall in love with it, you want to see it again and it's three hours long.
MARGARET: I know.
DAVID: But it is a masterpiece, I think.
DAVID: Yes. Wonderful.