MANON
1949, 96 min, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

One of director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s most neglected masterpieces and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1949, MANON was his blistering response to the hypocritical reaction in France to LE CORBEAU. Updating Abbe Prevost’s classic novel to postwar France, the film stars newcomer Cécile Aubrey (sex-kitten precursor to Brigitte Bardot) as a prostitute who is condemned as a collaborationist for sleeping with Germans during the war. She’s rescued from the noose by a smitten resistance fighter (Michel Auclair) – but once the couple flees from Normandy, Manon’s desire for the good things in life leads her directly to Parisian black markets and brothels, a debauched course that can result only in self-destruction. With Serge Reggiani. In French with English subtitles.


BAY OF ANGELS
LA BAIE DES ANGES
1963, Janus Films, 79 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

One of director Jacques Demy's darker and more melancholy efforts, his second feature (following his triumphant debut, LOLA) tells the story of a vacationing bank clerk (Claude Mann) who gets involved with compulsive gambler Jeanne Moreau. The characters are surrounded by lush settings - the film takes place against the backdrop of Nice casinos and beaches - yet the obsessive behavior and gray cinematography undercut the glamour at every ironic moment. Legend has it that Jacques Demy wrote the script for this classic in three days during a production delay on THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG! Michel Legrand’s music is haunting. In French with English subtitles.


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