french films > Les Enfants du Paradis

Les Enfants du Paradis

Les Enfants du Paradis

Les Enfants du Paradis

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Maria Casarès, Marcel Herrand

year: 1945

colour: yes

certificate: TBC

director: Marcel Carné

runtime: 190

Often featuring on all-time-best lists, Carné and Prévert's portrait of the Boulevard du Crime in the early 19th century is a sublime romance, miraculously made during the Nazi Occupation. 

Charting the fortunes of various actors, aristocrats, aficionados and villains frequenting Paris's theatrical district – many wooing the devil-may-care Garance (Arletty) – the rich, wonderfully engrossing tale of professional and personal rivalries, murky intrigue and unrequited passion explores, to brilliantly witty effect, the crucial role played by different kinds of performance in all aspects of everyday life… but most especially in matters of the heart. Inspired by real events and colourful characters like the mime Baptiste Debureau (Jean-Louis Barrault), the star Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur) and the playwright Pierre-François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), the film is not merely a masterclass in great acting but a breathtaking achievement on every front, from the superb cinematography and sets (courtesy of the great Trauner) to Carné's deft elaboration of the sheer genius of Jacques Prévert's script. All are enhanced in this glittering new digital restoration.



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