The pain of thwarted young love serves as the narrative center of Marcel Pagnol’s The Marseille Trilogy, but in many ways it is the character of César—a father figure who bears witness to the doomed romance between his son, Marius, and a young shopkeeper named Fanny—who infuses this bittersweet three-part drama with its soul. Brusque yet big-hearted, César guides the story through its twists and turns with a boundless sense of compassion that would become a trademark of Raimu, the actor who originated the role on both stage and screen. This great music-hall veteran had honed his craft over the course of a decades-long career in Paris’s theater scene before he became a muse and close friend of Pagnol, who found in his star both the comedic talent and the profound pathos to anchor this richly humanist portrait of daily life in his native Provence. In the below clip from a supplement on our newly released box-set edition of The Marseille Trilogy, Pagnol’s grandson Nicolas discusses the deep mutual affection between these two artists, whose landmark collaborations remain among the most influential works of early French cinema.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.