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Quai des Brumes (1938)

Original Title : Quai des brumes
Director : Marcel Carné
Writer : Marcel Carné
Pierre Dumarchais
Jacques Prévert
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Gregor Rabinovitch
Music : Maurice Jaubert
Photography : Eugen Schüfftan
IMDB ID : 0030643
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poster for "Quai des Brumes" by Marcel Carné (1938)
Quai des Brumes (1938) - Marcel Carné
 

Starring

Jean Gabin Jean
Michel Simon Zabel
Michèle Morgan Nelly
Pierre Brasseur Lucien
René Génin Le Docteur (as Génin
Marcel Pérès Le Chauffeur (as Perez
Roger Legris Le Garçon D'Hotel (as Legris
Martial Rèbe Un Client
 

Plot

A deserter encounters in a harbour a poor girl. They fall in love but he kills his girl-friend's tutor who wanted to rape her. At last he's killed himself by a hooligan and the ship he wanted to go aboard to escape goes away without him.
 

Comments

Like Being Punched Really Hard in the Gut I took a class in French Poetic Realism and Italian Neorealism this past Fall in which I saw many of the best films I will ever see. The third film we watched in the class was Jean Vigo's L'Atalante, which is just about the most gorgeous experience in film viewing I have ever experienced. I left the building in a cloud of euphoria, and I have never stopped thinking about it. One week later, we watched Le Quai des Brumes (Port of Shadows). It affected me greatly in the opposite direction of L'Atalante. It made me lonely and grief-stricken. That is in no way a criticism, for the most part, any film that transforms my emotions, whether for the better or the worse, is a great film. Le Quai des brumes is about a man played by the great Jean Gabin (the star of La Grande Illusion) who has deserted the army (a fact that is never mentioned specifically, since the French censors refused to let the filmmakers portray such an immoral deed). Everyone who he finds around him is morally corrupt. He finally befriends a dog, the most loyal of all animals, and then Nelly, a young woman who is being torn apart by her gangster suitor, Lucien, and her foster-father Zabel (played by L'Atalante's own Michel Simon). The whole film falls into unavoidable and quite grueling violence. It is so depressing that the French director Jean Renoir (of La Grande Illusion and Rules of the Game) accused it of being Fascist. Those who know the film know this quotation, and have pondered it for the longest time. It does make perfect sense however. Hope leaves quickly after it is seen, and it is hard to get rid of. It fascistically knocks you down. 10/10
 
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Quai des Brumes (1938) - Marcel Carné
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Quai des Brumes (1938) - Marcel Carné
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Quai des Brumes (1938) - Marcel Carné
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