Jacques Becker

Scen.: Maurice Aubergé, Jacques Becker, Maurice Griffe. F.: Nicolas Hayer. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Max Douy. Mus.: Jean-Jacques Grünenwald. Int.: Raymond Rouleau (Philippe Clarence), Micheline Presle (Micheline Lafaurie), Jean Chevrier (Daniel Rousseau), Gabrielle Dorziat (Solange), Jeanne Fusier-Gir (Paulette), Françoise Lugagne (Anne-Marie), Christiane Barry (Lucienne), Jane Marken (Madame Lesurque). Prod.: André Halley des Fontaines per Essor Cinématographique Français. DCP. D.: 95’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The shoot was difficult due to the many restrictions imposed by the Germans. They were about to leave, but we were still only entitled to electricity at night. I kept bursting into tears as a result of fatigue. […] You could argue that it was frivolous to make such a film at the time, but really it was a reaction to the situation. It was a truly luminous film, despite being shot entirely at night. One night, we were shooting a close up and when Becker called “Cut!”, my eyelids snapped closed like shutters from the exhaustion. Jacques burst out laughing when he saw the rushes.

Micheline Presle in Becker par Becker, Éditions PC, Paris 2004

Through this story, Becker employs the pointless and alien world of high fashion that he had known in his childhood as a form of substitution. A cinema of alienation and surface appearances that was supposed to avoid any reference or relationship to reality actually deals with the very nature of the Occupation. […] There is already an element of Vertigo in Falbalas. The attraction of the void also colours the rhythm of a montage too preoccupied with displaying a thousand details to focus at length on the juxtaposition between the vanity of a sterile occupation and the documentary truth of the workers’ labour. In Becker, the Freudian unconscious always comes second to the problems of a Marxist conscience.

Jean Douchet, Les Dessous de Falbalas, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 603, July- August 2005

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