Long day’s dawn­ing

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

LE JOUR SE LÈVE/ DAY­BREAK Di­rected by Mar­cel Carné. Star­ring Jean Gabin, Jules Berry, Ar­letty, Jac­que­line Lau­rent, Bernard Blier Club, IFI, Dublin 93 min

Noble foundry worker François (Jean Gabin) shoots and kills weirdo cir­cus dog-trainer Valentin (Jules Berry) and bar­ri­cades him­self in the at­tic. Armed po­lice swarm up the stairs. Dis­solv­ing flash­backs re­veal François’s love for co­quet­tish flower seller Françoise (Jac­que­line Lau­rent), who in turn, is fas­ci­nated by Valentin. As com­pen­sa­tion, our work­ing- class hero has an af­fair with the world-wise Clara (Ar­letty), Valentin’s for­mer as­sis­tant.

Valentin briefly meets with François; François briefly rec­on­ciles with Françoise. But we know from the fate­ful open­ing se­quence, that this love is prop­erly star-crossed.

Mar­cel Carné’s sem­i­nal 1939 film has en­dured almost as many slings and ar­rows as its un­for­tu­nate pro­tag­o­nist. Months after its re­lease, the Vichy gov­ern­ment sought to sup­press Le Jour Se Lève (lit­er­ally, the day, it rises) be­cause it was seen to be “de­moral­is­ing”. When Hol­ly­wood slop­pily re­made it in 1947 as The Long Night with Henry Fonda, RKO at­tempted to de­stroy all copies of the orig­i­nal.

Hap­pily, enough crit­ics had seen and loved Le Jour Se Lève for it to reckon in Sight and Sound’s first top 10 great­est films list in 1952. Upon re­dis­cov­ery, the film was praised for its for­mal el­e­gance, as ex­em­pli­fied by the fi­nal, im­plau­si­bly tragic ring of an alarm clock. In common with Carne’s Le Quai des Brumes (1938), the doomed at­mo­spher­ics work to an­tic­i­pate France’s de­feat by the Ger­mans in 1940. The last movie to emerge from the sub­genre of poetic re­al­ism shares the same dream-like qual­i­ties of L’Ata­lante, La Grande Il­lu­sion and La Rè­gle du Jeu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.