July 10 and 11, 2012. 7:00 p.m.
Les Enfants du Paradis, released as Children of Paradise in North America, is a 1945 French film directed by Marcel Carné. It was made during the German occupation of France during World War II. Set among the Parisian theatre scene of the 1820s and 30s, it tells the story of a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and the four men who love her in their own ways: a mime artist, an actor, a criminal and an aristocrat.
A three-hour film in two parts, it was described in the original American trailer as the French answer to Gone With the Wind. The film was voted “Best Film Ever” in a poll of 600 French critics and professionals in 1995.
Children of Paradise is set in the theatrical world of Paris during the July Monarchy (1830-48), centred on the area around the Funambules theatre, situated on the Boulevard du Temple – pejoratively referred to as the “Boulevard du Crime”. The film revolves around a beautiful and charismatic courtesan, Garance (played by the famous Arletty). Four men – the mime Baptiste Debureau (Jean-Louis Barrault), the actor Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur), the thief Pierre François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), and the aristocrat Édouard de Montray (Louis Salou) – are in love with Garance, and their intrigues drive the story forward. Garance is briefly intrigued/involved with them all, but leaves them when they attempt to force her to love on their terms, rather than her own. The mime Baptiste is the one who suffers the most in pursuit of the unattainable Garance.
Miami Beach Cinematheque
1130 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139