Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise is released in 1945.
Portrait of a film : filmed during the Occupation, Marcel Carné draws out the filming so that it would be the first movie projected at the moment of Liberation. At its release, Children of Paradise is declared “the best French film of all time” by every jury. It is also a triumph around the world.
Portrait of an era : the filming blends movie workers who are indifferent to current events, Resistance fighters, Jewish clandestines working under assumed names, and Nazi collaborators. The film is partially inspired by the life and times of Arletty. When the film is released, Arletty is in prison for having lived with a German Colonel. At its release, the film is a story of national reconciliation around the idea of French “esprit” : artists are the tightrope-walkers of history, and because of their elevation, always pardoned.
Portrait of a director : for ten years, until their separation in 1947, Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert invented a style of cinema : poetic realism. Children of Paradise is its apogee.