Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Les Enfants du paradis (2011 Pathé 4K digital restoration)

Marcel Carné: Les Enfants du paradis (FR 1945).

Paratiisin lapset. FR 1945 D: Marcel Carné (in due parti: Le Boulevard du Crime e L’Homme Blanc) T. it.: Amanti perduti; SC: Jacques Prévert; DP: Roger Hubert; Op.: Marc Fossard; ED: Henri Rust, Madeleine Bonin; PD: Alexandre Trauner, Leon Barsacq, Raymond Gabutti; M: Maurice Thiriet, Joseph Kosma, Georges Mouque (musica delle pantomime); S: Robert Teisseire; Cast: Arletty (Caire Reine detta Garance), Jean-Louis Barrault (Jean-Baptiste Debureau), Pierre Brasseur (Frédérick Lemaître), Marcel Herrand (Lacenaire), Pierre Renoir (Jéricho), María Casares (Natalie), Etienne Decroux (Anselme Debureau), Leon Larive, Gaston Modot (Fil de Soie), Fabien Loris (Avril), Marcel Pérès (il direttore dei Funambules), Pierre Palau (direttore di scena dei Funambules), Albert Remy (Scarpia Barrigni), Jane Marken (Madame Hermine), Louis Salou (conte Edouard de Montray), Jacques Castelot, Jean Gold (dandy), Maurice Schutz, Paul Frankeur, Robert Dhéry; P: S.N. Pathé Cinéma; Pri. pro.: 15 marzo 1945.
    DCP 2K.
    B&w. Version française.
    Electronic subtitles in Italian and in English.].
    From: Pathé.
    4K digital restoration from the original camera negative.
    Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 22.00, Piazza Maggiore (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato).
    Presentano Gian Luca Farinelli and Jérôme Seydoux.
    It started to rain, the piazza screening was interrupted, and the film was screened in its entirety later in Cinema Jolly.

Catalogue: "I loved the period and I was particularly attracted to the possibility of bringing the Boulevard du Crime of those times back to life. “Listen,” I said to Prévert, “I go back to Paris to visit the Musée Carnavalet and look at the documents of the Cabinet des Estampes on the period that interests us.”""

"(…) What I discovered at the Cabinet des Estampes went beyond my greatest expectations. I found absolutely everything I was looking for in the prints from the period: documents on the Boulevard du Crime but also on the Théâtre des Funambules and other similar venues; drawings of little cafés and taverns of La Courtille in addition to the silhouettes of street vendors and artisans. I asked for and got permission to photograph what interested me in the museum’s specialized area. (…) The immense sets of the Boulevard du Crime was built on a large piece of land next to the Victorine studios, where just a year before stood the white castle of Les Visiteurs du Soir. Nevertheless, we did not want a repeat of what had happened last time: as a precautionary measure, we prepared some “back-up sets” in the studio. The work plan was the following: the Boulevard du Crime (as long as the weather conditions made it possible), than the interior shots and finally the return to Paris where filming – considering the vast number of scenes – would have continued in different studios, in particular Joinville and Francoeur. Unfortunately, due to the small amount of time given to him and the problems at the time, Bersacq was unable to complete the sets for the outside shots for the planned date. We had to fall back on the interiors, Garance’s boarding house and the infamous tavern. Marcel Carné: La Vie à belles dents (Jean Vuarnet, Paris, 1979).""

"With this crowd – I think above all of the film’s opening and end – the filmmakers made a surprising farandole around the most ephemeral destinies, a storm of perishable individuals, in the light, a whirlwind of puppets who lose themselves in pleasure. Play on words winds about this extravagant dream, la Bohême of the amusement park where melodrama finds the right habitat. As for the luxurious sets – a furtive luxury – they emphasize the sordid spectrum, the shacks, the backstage. (...) Let’s list other beautiful moments of this film: that Corot-like landscape, the pantomime scenes, Arletty huddling on stage, how we feel her burn with her unhappy love! Fate hangs over the whole film: each character obeys contradictory impulses and, the victim of passionate density, wanders off lost. (…) I believe Bergson would have loved this whirl of images full of (…) disorganized, vital momentum." Jean Sollies: Les Enfants du Paradis, “Gavroche”, March 22, 1945.

AA: I watched the first 20 minutes, examining the projection at close range, from the middle distance, and from afar. I was positively surprised by the look of the 2K DCP projection based on a 4K digital master. Immediately the opening crowd scene on the market square strikes me as full of life.

People who had heard four hours before the Incontri sul restauro cinematografico: Pathé e il restauro di Les Enfants du paradis with Stéphanie Tarot (Pathé), Christian Lurin (Éclair), and Davide Pozzi (L'Immagine Ritrovata) were more reserved, having heard that each image was digitized in six separate sections.

A Piazza Maggiore screening may be deceptive, but at least I felt a marked step forward from last year's digital Boudu sauvé des eaux.

I was too tired to see over three hours of this movie at midnight, but I look forward to seeing this restoration in its entirety.

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