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.
Finding the Life of the Party in Cold Water
Olivier Assayas revived the spirit of the 1970s in one of cinema’s most evocative party sequences, which serves as the centerpiece of his acclaimed 1994 film.
Undressing Souls in Scenes from a Marriage
What does it take for actors to be completely vulnerable with each other? Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson reflect on the close friendship that informed their work in one of Ingmar Bergman’s most ambitious dramas.