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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.

1963, 107 min, France/Italy, Dir: Julien Duvivier

Legendary director Julien Duvivier (PÉPÉ LE MOKO) was nearing the end of his illustrious career, but he saved one of the best for last in this taut tale of fate, lust and enveloping entrapment. Robert Hossein is a thief on the lam who jumps from frying pan into the fire when he holes up at a highway truck stop and is quickly embroiled in the grasping schemes of a hard-bitten, voluptuous vixen (Catherine Rouvel) who will stop at nothing to get what she wants! Costarring Jean Sorel and Jacques Bertrand, with photography from Léonce-Henri Burel, longtime right-hand man of Robert Bresson. In French with English subtitles.

1919, Film Preservation Associates, 166 min, France, Dir: Abel Gance

Powerful and passionate, this landmark silent - which began production several months before the end of World War I - incorporates real battle footage and uses nearly 2,000 on-leave soldiers as extras (in a chilling “return of the fallen” sequence). Poet Jean Diaz (Romuald Joubé) is in love with Édith (Maryse Dauvray), wife of the volatile François Laurin (Séverin-Mars); when war breaks out, the two men find themselves fighting in the same battalion. Gance would remake this anti-war masterpiece with sound in 1938 as another world war approached.

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