THE TRUTH OF OUR MARRIAGE
LA VERITÉ SUR BÉBÉ DONGE
1952, Gaumont, 110 min, Dir: Henri Decoin

Jean Gabin after World War II became a much different figure in French cinema, more paternal than proletarian. His role in BÉBÉ DONGE, Decoin’s very dark melodrama about a marriage that has literally gone toxic, is one of his least likable roles - but is among his most fascinating performances. His delirious ruminations while lying flat on his back in a hospital bed as he attempts to recover from being poisoned by his wife (played with hauntingly cold precision by Danielle Darrieux) show us just how wrong things can go between man and wife. In French with English subtitles.


THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT
LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT
1967, Janus Films, 120 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Director Jacques Demy's love letter to American musicals, French cityscapes and romance in general is one of his greatest triumphs. The movie tells intersecting stories of a number of young dreamers - among them Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorleac and Danielle Darrieux - who continually miss meeting their ideal mates by mere city blocks - city blocks that are all authentic, as Demy matches realistic location shooting with sheer flights of musical fantasy. This odd but satisfying hybrid of dreams and reality is enhanced by Michel Legrand's score and Demy's typically precise color palette. With Gene Kelly and George Chakiris. In French with English subtitles.


LE PLAISIR
1952, Janus Films, 97 min, Dir: Max Ophuls

Max Ophuls brings his opulent, dazzling style to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the ironies, compromises and pleasures of the human condition. Set in an array of richly textured, late 19th-century locales, spanning the bucolic French countryside to the artists’ studios and urban bordellos of Paris. With an all-star French cast including Jean Gabin, Simone Simon and Danielle Darrieux. Stanley Kubrick once named it as his favorite film. In French with English subtitles.


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