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Les enfants du Paradis 8: Carnaval September 23, 2006

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Children of Paradise, Movies, Theater.

As the Boulevard du Crime erupts in celebration, Nathalie (María Casares) appears at Baptiste’s hideaway, dragging with her what Pauline Kael called “their abominable offspring — the child is pure Hollywood”. Garance and Baptiste are parted, and the final curtain descends:

Of all the performers in this movie, you’ve got to feel the most sorry for María Casares (1922-1996), for whom this was her first film, in a role for which the word “thankless” was coined. At least she had this to look forward to …

I first saw Les enfants du Paradis in college, in the wake of my first (of many) failed love affairs, and its mix of poetic realism, wordliness and flamboyance, and the astonishing story of how it was made, fit my view of the world so perfectly that at that moment, for the first time in my life, I fell instantly in love with a work of art.There is something of Les enfants du Paradis in every screenplay I have written (yes, even Babes In Armor!). As I watched the DVD recently, I was astounded to realize that I feel exactly the same about it now as I did over thirty years ago. The title refers to the occupants of the highest balcony in the theater — “Paradise” is what we sometimes call “the peanut gallery” — and I am a child of that Paradise. Après tout, l’amour est toujours simple. If The Third Man is my favorite movie as a movie, this is my favorite movie as work of art.

EdP poster

More of Les Enfants du Paradis.

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