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.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.