Return to Life
1948. France. Henri-Georges Clouzot, André Cayatte, Georges Lampin, Jean Dréville. 112 min.
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 5:30 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
Return to Life
1948. France. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, André Cayatte, Georges Lampin, Jean Dréville. Clouzot’s “Le Retour de Jean” episode with Louis Jouvet, Noël Roquevert, Monette Dinay. “This is the darkest of all the episode films that were in fashion in the late 1940s. The work of four directors, the film’s unity comes from its writer (Charles Spaak wrote four out of five stories) and from the pessimism shared by all…The most chilling episode comes expectedly from Clouzot, with Louis Jouvet in the role of a former prisoner who meets his German torturer in a shabby hotel room. It’s a great portrait of a victim who becomes the executioner, and of an aged man who seems totally harmless and is a presence not unlike the real life image we got almost forty years later during the Klaus Barbie trial. If there is a familiar ring to this, it is because so many later films seem to have stolen a cue from this relentless, powerful story, which perhaps reverberates from Clouzot’s first-hand experience: the complicated story of his masterpiece Le Corbeau, and its many interdictions (added with the director being banned from working for several years). Yes, ‘cruelty was effective,’ as the German man says in the film” (Peter von Bagh). Courtesy La Cinémathèque française. 112 min.