On Sunday evening, the Parisian theatrical demimonde of the distant past will come to life in Florida, as the Miami Beach Cinematheque offers a complimentary screening of Marcel Carné’s 1945 Children of Paradise. Set in the 1820s and ’30s, and made during the German occupation of France, Carné’s two-part, three-hour-plus drama has long been regarded not only as a signature work of poetic realism but also as one of the greatest achievements in all of French cinema. Sensitively written by frequent Carné collaborator Jacques Prévert, Children of Paradise abounds with human passions and intrigues, telling the intricate story of a courtesan (Arletty) pursued by a varied cast of men: a mime (Jean-Louis Barrault), an actor (Pierre Brasseur), a criminal (Marcel Herrand), and an aristocrat (Louis Salou). At the time of its making, it was “the most expensive, most star-studded film the French had ever made,” writes scholar Dudley Andrew in his liner essay for our edition of the incomparable romance. “It marked the summit of Marcel Carné’s career . . . exemplifying in its magnificent self-presentation the triumph of the imagination over loss, and of art over politics.”
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.