Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 18:30


Marie Epstein, Jean Benoît-Levy
Piano accompaniment by John Sweeney


Film Notes

He called documentaries films of life, and life, full of drama, naturally led him to dramatic film. […] He achieved such a good result with children because he could understand them.

Marie Epstein, Le Patron tel que je l’ai connu

We can only congratulate Aubert on the release of this French film, which demonstrates its desire to help young people, because Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein are young.

Jean Marguet, Cinémagazine, no. 3, January 18, 1929

Little Jimmy Gaillard is the main actor in three consecutive films by Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein: Peau de pêche, Jimmy bruiteur and Le Cœur de Paris. Saying he was their first star would not be an exaggeration. That typical kid of Lyon discovered on the stage of the Célestins Theater gives an inspired performance as the classic poulbot, the street kid of Montmartre, as if he were born and raised there. He is Peau de pêche, with his cheeks that blush when emotional, and at the beginning of the 1930s Jimmy was a popular child actor, ‘one of the best’. In an interview for “Pour vous” in December of 1931, Jimmy Gaillard revealed his veneration of Maurice Chevalier: “You know, he was the one who taught me how to wear a straw hat right, to comb my hair properly, to make even the knot of a tie expressive, etc.; basically he was almost my teacher, and I sure would like to have his talent!”. Graceful Simone Mareuil (just before Un chien andalou) and Maurice Touzé (one of the forgotten greats of French film due to his short career and yet one of the most moving faces of the 1920s, like in La Belle Nivernaise) complete the young cast of this first dramatic feature-length film about returning to the land and the transition to adulthood. On a side note, little Françoise and Geneviève, Lucy and Jean Benoît-Lévy’s daughters, appear in the film as the bridesmaids carrying the bride’s train as she leaves the Church of the Madeleine.
Peau de pêche marks the beginning of Epstein-Lévy’s interest in young people, but it is also a genuine ode to the French countryside, open air and the earth. In the words of film historian Valérie Vignaux: “The filmmaker transforms the arguments against the desertification of the countryside into a patriotic agrarian song”.

Emilie Cauquy

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Gabriel Maurière. Scen.: Jean Benoît-Levy. F.: Georges Clerc. Int.: Maurice Touzé (Peau de pêche), Denise Lorys (Madame Desfleuves), Simone Mareuil (Lucie), Jimmy Gaillard (Peau de Pêche bambino), Pierre Lecomte (La Ficelle), Marcel Carpentier (il sindaco), Blanche Beaume (la madre), le petit Bisson (La Ficelle bambino), Martine (Lucie bambina), Vardannes (l’agricoltore). Prod.: G.F.F.A.-Gaumont-Franco Film- Aubert. 35mm. L.: 2243. D.: 89’ a 24 f/s. Bn.