1930. France. Julien Duvivier. 86 min.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 4:30 p.m.
1930. France. Directed by Julien Duvivier. Screenplay by Julien Duvivier, based on the novel by Irène Némirovsky. With Harry Baur, Jackie Monnier, Paule Andral. Duvivier's first sound film catapulted him to world renown. Duvivier’s first sound film catapulted him to world renown. In this operatic adaptation of the controversial novel by Némirovsky, Baur gives a wrenching performance as an immigrant Jewish tycoon who makes money the ruthless and vengeful way, but ends up bitterly betrayed by his scheming wife and daughter. Exposing man’s rank instincts for hatred, duplicity, and greed, Duvivier shows an unflinching pessimism that would also distinguish later films like La Fin du jour and Panique. The Nazi murders of Némirovsky and Baur—she in Auschwitz in 1942, and he by the Gestapo in Paris a year later—deepen the film's tragic dimensions. In French; English subtitles. 86 min.