miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2007

A French Occupation Classic

Le Corbeau (2004 DVD)
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
France, 1943
In French with English subtitles

"Watching Le Corbeau at the Empire Theater, Clouzot's film is physically repugnant. But compare it to what's outside, and it begins to taste sweet--the black turns rosy and pale blue. Almost like a romance novel..." --Henri Jeanson, 1947

Finally got around to seeing this controversial 1943 anti-informer classic from alleged Vichy France "collaborator" Clouzot, and I'm pleased to report that it lived up to the hype and then some. Whatever you want to make of the debate surrounding the making of the movie, there's no denying that Clouzot was a master storyteller whose real life-inspired plot--an outbreak of "poison-pen letters" that wreaked havoc in the French provincial town of Tulle--comes to paranoiac life in this witty and provocative thriller. Pierre Fresnay is outstanding as Dr. Remy Germain, the suspected abortionist, adulterer and main target of the anonymous letter writer known as "Le Corbeau" (the Raven); however, a good deal of the viewer's fun is watching the rest of the characters blindly ignore their own issues of compromise and complicity. Shot in a stark black and white that almost seems to mock the hypocrisy of the townspeople's conventional morality. (www.criterion.com)

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