Children of paradise: the exhibition at la cinÉmathÈque franÇaise


From the 24th of October until the 27th of January, the Cinémathèque française in Paris presents Marcel Carné’s masterpiece Children of Paradise, classified at the  UNESCO World Heritage . Written by Jacques Prévert, it is one of the most famous French movies in the world, admired by all since its first screening in 1945.

Paris boulevard du Crime, 1830: it is the romanticism period and all the characters invented by Jacques Prévert are caught in a way of living just as you can find in any Balzac novel. Marvelous and fascinating, the atmosphere in the movie goes from dreams to reality and makes your head spin, but in a good way. Most of all, it is the story of an impossible love between the delicate Garance (Arletty) and mime artist Baptiste Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) who is the glory of the Théâtre des Funambules. The script is witty, the desperate “Joie de vivre” is present during the whole movie and represented by the best actors of that time such as Pierre Brasseur, Maria Casarès, Pierre Renoir, Louis Salou and Marcel Herrand.

The shooting of the movie was done during the Occupation period in France, which was a really hard period. They began shooting it in 1943 in Nice (South of France) and finished it in the studios Francoeur in Paris. Up until its debut in theaters, the shooting has been very difficult for the director and the crew since the political situation was unstable in the country.

The exhibition presents rare and precious documents from the collection of the Cinémathèque and from the Foundation Jérôme Seydoux. With the help of Pathé also, it allows us to be a part of this incredible story. Posters, drawings, pictures, costumes, working devices they used, scripts, letters, plans, set pieces… You will find everything you need to know about Children of Paradise at this exhibition. Most of all, this fund has been completed by the purchase of the collection of Marcel Carné of Boston and by the original script written by Jacques Prévert and donated by Eugénie Bachelot-Prévert for this special event.

The colored and spectacular set designs created especially for the cinémathèque will represent the boulevard du Crime with the building of the front of the Théâtre des Funambules just like in the movie. It literally looks like you are in the Children of Paradise with mime Deburau. Obviously, the exhibition will also show many visual extracts such as movies, documentaries, actualities and music.

If you come around Paris, make sure not to miss it!

Flavia Nicolò

October 19th 2012

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