Port of Shadows
1938. France. Marcel Carné. 91 min.
Sunday, October 30, 2011, 5:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
Port of Shadows
1938. France. Directed by Marcel Carné. Screenplay by Jacques Prévert. With Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan. It would be hard to exaggerate the influence of Port of Shadows on France’s self-image—nostalgic, romantic, fatalist—or on American film noir. Carné and Prévert’s legendary collaboration (followed by Le Jour se lève and Les Enfants du paradis) has been quoted by everyone from Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) and Ingmar Bergman (Port of Call) to Howard Hawks (To Have and Have Not) and Aki Kaurismäki (Le Havre, soon to be released by Janus Films), each in an attempt to recapture Port of Shadows’ archetypal, dream-like style. Prévert’s prose poetry, Eugen Schüfftan’s expressionist camerawork, and Alexandre Trauner’s ingeniously claustrophobic, abstract sets all coalesce to make the shabby dockside bar an existential prison for doomed antihero Gabin. Luc Sante writes, “The hazy lights, the wet cobblestones, the prehensile poplars lining the road out of town, the philosophical gravity of peripheral characters, the idea that nothing in life is more important than passion—such things defined a national cinema that might have been dwarfed by Hollywood in terms of reach and profit but stood every inch as tall as regards grace and beauty and power.” Restored by StudioCanal and La Cinémathèque française, in collaboration with the Franco-American Cultural Fund/DGA/MPAA/SACEM/WGAW. In French; English subtitles. 91 min.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The Ninth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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