La belle de nuit. 1934. France. Directed by Louis Valray. Screenplay by Arnold Lipp. With Véra Korène, Aimé Clariond, Jacques Dumesnil. DCP. In French; English subtitles. 87 min.
Not much is known about the director Louis Valray, except that he was born in Toulon in 1896 and made two exceptional feature films in the mid-1930s, both of which are screening in this program in new editions from Lobster Films. Based on a play by Pierre Wolff, about a wronged husband’s revenge on his wife and her lover, La belle de nuit is a major find, a work of uninhibited stylistic imagination that ranges from Sirkian stylization (an elaborate play of mirrors and doubles) to brutal realism (a tour of the bordellos of Marseille suggests the contemporary photographs of Brassaï).