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The heart of the plot is a love story between mime artiste Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) and streetwalker Garance (the magnificent, sand-paper-voiced Arletty). When Garance is falsely accused of pickpocketing, Baptiste provides a mimed alibi for her to the police (one of the film's most famous set pieces). The rose she later throws him in gratitude sets off a romantic obsession, one of several that structure the film, as do love triangles, duels, and tortured confessions of feeling.
Thematically, Les Enfant du Paradis gnaws over typically French cinematic preoccupations: illusion and reality, the nature of performance, the indomitable spirit of the proletariat and so on, all made the more charged and poignant when you know the film was shot during the Nazi occupation. (One actor, Robert Le Vigan, was reportedly a Nazi collaborator and disappeared during the filming under mysterious circumstances and so had to be replaced by Pierre Renoir.) --Leslie Felperin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An incredible film and perhaps my favourite film of all time. Set aside a full evening for this one, without interruptions (it's long) and really give it the attention it deserves.Published 16 days ago by carol
Marcel Carnes epic is generally voted the greatest French movie of all time and it's not hard to see why. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brendan Keane
I love this film (these films) and was buying as a replacement for my much missed last copy. This five star rating is a reflection of the seller. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Orlando
This has always been my favourite French film which I fell for when still at school. I was sorry in a way to find it a bit less enticing now It is a bit dated but I just love the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ivan's Grandma
Not quite as good as I remembered it, but still very good. Well worth viewing. Excellent production qualities and very good cast.Published 12 months ago by Peter
I first saw this film at the Media Museum, Bradford, several years ago - it was so memorable it was worth the purchase.Published 12 months ago by Liz Pallister
This is what cinema can do.
Such joy to see this magnificent film again after too many years away from its unique, bustling charms. Read more
It was good to see that this masterpiece was available on dvd. A lengthy, historical French film worth taking the time to watch.Published 19 months ago by Bluebell