25. Les Enfants Du Paradis (Marcel Carné, 1945)
I will start by saying that I don’t remember the scene depicted in the poster. I can’t say for sure it didn’t happen, but having seen the movie fairly recently, I can honestly say I don’t remember seeing any guys wearing turbans pushing women with strong muscular legs(look at that definition) out of windows. Because if I did, I would probably have liked this movie a lot more. Evil men with turbans as a general rule hold my attention, alot better than 3 hour movies about mimes.
Yes this is a 3 hour movie about a mime. Well there’s a thief, and actor, and a count too. I am pretty sure there is a joke about that: ie. So a mime, a thief, an actor, and a count walk into a bar. The thief, says to mime, “why don’t you talk”? And the mime says, “because I’m a mime”. Rimshot. Folks, I just flew in from Cleveland and boy are my legs tired. Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.
That brings me to something I would like to do some day. There used to be an awesome page on wikipedia(it may still be there, but I can’t find it) about the conventions of stand-up comedy. It had stuff like: “have you ever noticed how men and women are different in many ways? When men watch TV they like to flip through the channels, but when women watch TV they like to stop and watch”. There was a whole page of good stuff like that. From “Take my wife—please!” to “What’s the deal with airplane peanuts?”. Anyway my plan is someday take that list and read it verbatim as a stand-up act. The goal would be to bomb, but bomb ironically, like be purposely bad. I would also like to pull the “what’s the deal with cancer?” bit, which is possibly the second greatest joke ever. The greatest joke is when a leper says “pull my finger”.
The plot of the story is as follows: a woman named Garance who is banging four different guys at approximately the same time. Problems ensue, no one ends up happy, the end. That’s it really. The mime is all tortured and anguished, for Garance is his true love. The actor likes her too, but he is a dick. The thief is a thief, but I forget what his deal was, I think she was banging him first. Then there is the count who is rich, and who Garance doesn’t love, but ends up with.
The film is a 3 hour melodrama, that I don’t really understand. It’s decent to watch, but I don’t get what the hype is about. The only thing that was really cool was the final scene in which the mime tries to convince Garance that they should be together, she doesn’t think so, and they are separated by a mob of people during a parade, and the film closes with the mime being pulled further and further from Garance, and desperately calling her name. It’s actually pretty moving, and seeing as I like films where everybody dies, or at least where no one ends up happy, this ending was right up my alley.
That being said, it’s really long, and I just didn’t get it.
On filmaffinity.com, I gave the film a 6/10, which is my standard rating for movies that are critically lauded, don’t offend my sensibilities, but I just don’t get. I would like to revisit this film, likely through the 2-disc Criterion special edition, but that will have to wait.