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World Cinema Series 6 December: Les Enfants du Paradis / Children of Paradise

What Les Enfants du Paradis / Children of Paradise
When 6 December 2012 (Thursday), 7.30pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897

FREE for SFS Members or Reel Card holders. Get your free ticket by flashing your membership card at the SFS desk at the theatre entrance. You may ask for up to 2 more tickets for your guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up at the SFS desk -- we will issue membership on the spot. Free seating.


Director: Marcel Carné
Scriptwriter: Jacques Prévert
1945 / France / 194 min / DCP / Rating PG
In French with English subtitles

In Les Enfants du Paradis, the French masterpiece directed by Marcel Carné and written by Jacques Prévert, the French theatrical world of the 1840s comes to life along the string of theatres and diners lining the historical Boulevard du Crime in Paris, which was recreated in a studio. Along the boulevard, boisterous crowds from stage actors, to criminals, dandies and people of all classes, gather in a carnivalesque spectacle. Pathos and romance overflow in this portrait of Parisian life as the magic of the theatre seeps out of the theatre halls within the narrative, spilling over onto the streets, imbuing the crowds with a dramatic and burgeoning passion that dissolves the distinction between fiction and reality, and art and everyday life.

Centred at the Le Théâtre des Funambules, the film focuses on the relationship between the beautiful and mysterious Garance and four men vying for her love: Baptiste Deburau the mime artist who echoes Jean-Gaspard Deburau, the legendary creator of the 19th century Pierrot pantomime; the charismatic actor and playwright Frédérick Lemaître; the thief and anarchist Pierre-François Lacenaire; and the oppressive aristocrat Count Éduard of Monteray. As their lives intertwine, we witness the consequences of their actions rippling through this quadrangle relationship in a plot filled with betrayal, deceit and unrequited love. Yet through Carné’s sensitive expressions emerge a sense of destiny, a fatalistic yet truthful acceptance of one’s fate, and an inviolable idea of dignity amidst tragedy.

Les Enfants du Paradis is a triumphant hallmark of poetic realism and one of the most celebrated films in the history of French cinema. It was shot in Nice from 1943 to 1944, when France was occupied by the Nazis. The production team also included the brilliant set designer Alexandre Trauner, who as a Jew, had to work on the set discretely to avoid prosecution by the Nazis. The film has been read as an allegory of the French spirit of resistance and Marcel Carné deliberately held the completed film until 1945, when it was released to great acclaim at the dawn of the liberation of France.

Les Enfants du Paradis was restored by Pathé in partnership with the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. The film will be introduced by Mrs Sophie Seydoux, Chairman of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé.