Monument of French cinema, Children of paradise by Marcel Carné was shot in full German occupation from 1943 to 1944. Despite incredible filming conditions, the film was released in March 1945, and in the euphoria of liberation, was a huge success. Arletty, leading female role in the film, suspected of collaboration, is detained in prison the evening of the premiere ...
“To fight was to continue making films. Reclaiming in the spirit what we had lost by arms, ”said Marcel Carné about the Children of Paradise. He actually shot his film in the midst of the Occupation, at the Victorine studios in Nice, and in great difficulty. The shooting was long - it lasted two years -, ruinous and complex because of the air warnings, the electricity shortages, the scarcity of film, which sometimes came from the black market. It was also necessary to protect Jewish or anti-Vichy collaborators by also paying them on the black market.
Nevertheless, when the film, produced by Pathé, was released on March 9, 1945 at the Madeleine and Colisée cinemas in Paris, in the effervescence of the Liberation, it all seemed very far away. It is a triumph, and its success has never wavered since. This major work, at the same time popular and refined, is due to a quartet of shock which has already proved its worth. Alongside an outstanding director, we find the poet Jacques Prévert for the scenario and the dialogues, the decorator Alexandre Trauner, the musician Joseph Kosma and the painter Mayo for the costumes.
Film heritage monument
The performers are unforgettable, their names are Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur and Maria Casarès. They tell the story of two beings - a very pretty young woman, Garance, and the lunar mime Baptiste - who love each other, lose each other, find each other and lose each other again. Anchored in an era, the years 1830-1840, a place, Paris and its theaters on the Boulevard du Temple, and a crime, they play wonderfully, between stage and street, a mad love.
Children of paradise is considered today, all over the world, as one of the most important films in the history of cinema.
Children of Paradise, by Marcel Carné (1945). With Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir, María Casares ...
French cinema under the Occupation: 1940-1944. Editions René Chateau, 1996.