Tuesday, February 1, 2022

365 Days: #32 Le jour se lève (1939)

I am dedicating the month of February to French cinema, which gives me a good excuse to indulge myself in some favorite French movies I haven't seen in awhile, as well as watch all the new ones I've acquired because of Journeys Through French Cinema. This week, I am starting out with French movies that inspired adaptations in other countries.

#32  Le jour se lève

François has shot a man, and then refuses to open the door to the police, instead shooting at them through the door. They run away to seek reinforcements, allowing François time to reflect on the circumstances that led up to him becoming a murderer. We learn he is a working stiff with a sandblasting job that's damaging his health, who falls in love with a cute, young girl who's been taken in by charming creep, Valentin. When she doesn't put out after 3 weeks of dating, and sees Valentin on the sly, he decides to hook up with Valentin's former assistant, who's agreeable to a no strings relationship. François and Françoise finally decide they love each other enough to commit to one another, but Valentin isn't having it, and he confronts François in a way that isn't very smart. 

"Sure, I'm a killer, but killers are a dime a dozen. They're everywhere. Everyone kills! They just do it quietly so you don't see. It's like sand--it gets deep inside you. " 

I enjoyed revisiting this film and developed a greater appreciation for it on this viewing. I first saw this movie in 2010, after having seen Gabin in Port of Shadows and Arletty in Children of Paradise, which made me want to see more of their work. I love the brooding, doomed dirge that plays at the beginning of the film, which leaves no hope that the situation will end well. There are some nice shots to appreciate in this film, and if you enjoy film noir, you owe it to yourself to check this one out, as well as the American adaptation I will be watching tomorrow.

No comments: