Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di François Coppée. Scen.: André Antoine. Ass. regia: Julien Duvivier. F.: Paul Castanet. Int.: Romuald Joubé (Chrétien Lescuyer), Séphora Mossé (Périnette), René Rocher (Chrétien Forgeat), Mona Gondré (Chrétien bambino), Philippe Garnier (Lescuyer padre), Jacques Grétillat (Prosper Aubry), Léon Bernard (Donadieu, lo scultore), Mme. Relly (Héloïse), Sylvie (Louise Rameau), Henri Jeanson (un bambino). Prod.: Pathé Frères 35mm. L.: 1673 m. D.: 81’ a 18 f/s. Bn. Tinted
In an article published in “Le Monde” in 1962, Henri Langlois explained his programming policy and justified his choice of showing both masterpieces and unknown works, and occasionally inserting a title of which he was particularly fond. One of these was André Antoine’s Le Coupable, which was screened the 29 May 1956 at Cinémathèque française film club on rue d’Ulm as part of an evening programme dedicated to French pioneers. Antoine’s rediscovery can be dated to that screening. The film was restored in 1987 by Philippe Esnault and Renée Lichtig from the pre-edited original negative conserved in the Cinémathèque. In 1917, the tails of several shots indicating the shot numbers and the colour codes were removed, but the restoration was nonetheless able to make use of these technical notations to produce a copy partially in colour. In adapting a tale by François Coppée (1896), Antoine took a story with a strong moral impact and added a flashback structure in order to highlight the tragic destiny of the young Chrétien Forgeat. He entrusted the narration to Romuald Joubé, in the role of the lawyer Chrétien Lescuyer, who ends up confessing in court to having abandoned his own child before its birth. For the first time Antoine, a theatre director who made the transition to the cinema, could make use of his in situ working method, alternating the court’s indictment with the intersecting stories of two lives. Antoine still alternates between the search for a personal, experimental naturalistic style and a respect for the rights of the producers, who at the time were impressed by the aesthetic mastery of American films. And so the dramatically motivated use of artificial light in the court scenes, which were shot in the studio, contrasts with the picturesque views of the capital, which were shot on location, making the film unusually interesting from an aesthetic and documentary perspective.