Friday, July 23, 2010

Cécile Aubry (1928-2010)

Cécile Aubry died on Monday, 19 July, 2010. Since I heard about her death, the Belle et Sébastien theme song started to play in my mind. Cécile Aubry was a popular author of children's books and director and scenarist of tv series based on her stories. She also wrote the lyrics to the Belle et Sébastien theme song, called "L'Oiseau", and composed by Eric Demarsan and Daniel Jerome A. White. The Belle et Sébastien tv series (FR 1965) was popular in my childhood in Finland and I have fond memories of it. I read from the obituaries that the role of Sébastien was played by Cécile Aubry's own son, Mehdi El Glaoui. Sébastien's best friend Belle is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

Before her career as a writer and director Cécile Aubry was a film actor, debuting in Manon (1949) by Henri-Georges Clouzot, which updated the Manon Lescaut story to contemporary Europe and Palestine. Cécile Aubry had the title role as the young woman who has to escape punishment after the Occupation because of her attentions to the German soldiers. Instead of New Orleans, the Clouzot story ends in Palestine, where Manon arrives together with the Jewish refugees, the Holocaust survivors. This is one of the films I'd most like to see, but it has been difficult to access, and we could not show it in our Clouzot retrospective in Helsinki. Mikael Enckell who saw it during the first run in Helsinki has kept recommending this film.

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