Each fall at MoMA, Gaumont presents a title from its archives in France. This year, Gaumont President Nicolas Seydoux and CEO Sidonie Dumas introduce Max Ophuls’s rarely seen Sans lendemain (1940), the last film he made in Europe before the eruption of World War II and, indeed, the last film he would make until The Exile, in Hollywood, in 1947.
For Jean Cocteau, who directed her in L’Aigle à deux têtes, Edwige Feullère incarnated “the queen of snow, blood, voluptousness and death.” In Sans lendemain’s classic melodrama, Feullère is a “fallen woman”—once respectable but now forced to dance nude in a Montmartre bar to support her young son—who rents an expensive furnished apartment to convince a long-ago lover (Georges Rigaud) that her life has been a happy one. More perhaps than any prewar Ophuls film, Sans lendemain anticipates his 1955 masterpiece Lola Montès; both films feature a heroine who exposes her body while concealing her soul, trapped in a glamourous environment that is revealed as little more than a cage.
Organized by Dave Kehr, Adjunct Curator, Department of Film.