Film noir meets philosophical existentialism with an engrossing blend of doomed romance, shady criminal underworld and bleak fatalism: enter Marcel Carné.
23 October, 19.00
Le Quai des Brumes (Port of Shadows)
Marcel Carné | 1938 | 90 min
With Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon and Pierre Brasseur.
Jean, a deserter from the French colonial army, arrives at the misty port of Le Havre. Broke and on the run, Jean hopes to leave the country on the first available boat and start a new life elsewhere. After spending some time in an inn frequented by the town’s lowlife, he is introduced to Nelly, a runaway girl. Jean falls for her and decides to help her. He faces Nelly’s intimidating guardian Zabel and the other man interested in her, the dangerous pimp Lucien. Suddenly Jean’s luck seems to have finally turn and he finds himself with some money and a passage on a boat to Venezuela. Now only his love for Nelly keeps him from leaving. But the more he remains in Le Havre, the more he exposes himself to Zabel and Lucien’s revenge.
Le Quai des Brumes shines as one of the most impressive examples of French ‘poetic realism’ and it is widely considered to be not only one of Marcel Carné’s finest achievements but also one of the absolute high-points of French filmmaking in the 1930s. More a cinematic style than a real film genre, ‘poetic realism’ aimed at representing the social conditions of France in the 30s in a highly aestheticised, bitterly melancholic way.
Written by the great poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert and with a cast bringing together some of the finest French actors of the time – Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon and Pierre Brasseur – Carné’s film tells the ill-fated romance between two characters in search of an impossible escape.
“Marcel Carné’s visually stunning film has fully earned its status as a classic of French poetic realism. Years before the term came into common usage, this poetic, moody, broken-hearted classic set the tone for the emergence of film noir. And for that reason among many, you really shouldn’t miss it on the big screen.” – Little White Lies
“A 1938 masterpiece of poetic realism.” – Observer [UK]
Serie les Maîtres du Cinema
A celebration of French cinema through the masterpieces of its most renowned directors.
Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Uitkijk Cinema.
All films are screened in 35mm, with English subtitles.
Presented in collaboration with Maison Descartes Institut Francais.