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Appendix: Festivals and Prizes for French Personnel and Productions

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

APPENDIX: FESTIVALS AND PRIZES FOR
FRENCH PERSONNEL AND PRODUCTIONS

National Recognition

Cannes Film Festival

Grand Prix du Cinéma Français

Instituted in 1934, but the conditions, name, and date changed several times. In 1937, the government took it over and it became the Grand Prix National du Cinéma Français. It was not awarded during the war, but in 1942–1943, a substitute was created called by some the Grand Prix du Film d’Art Français, awarded by a jury consisting of three state representatives and three critics elected by their colleagues (Lucien Rebatet, Alexandre Arnoux, and Roger Régent). It recognized the following (the first two years retrospectively):

In 1944, the Société des Auteurs awarded an equivalent, which they called the Grand Prix du Cinéma. to Goupi Mains-Rouges with an honorable mention to Douce.

After the war, it was reinstituted as the Grand Prix du Cinéma Français.

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1931

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

The Threepenny Opera

United States–Germany–France, 1931, 113 min (German version), 104 min (or 93 min, French version), b&w

French version: Dir Georg-Wilhelm Pabst; Asst dir Solange Bussi; Prod Warner Brothers–First National and Tobis–Nero Film; Scr Leo Lania, Ladislaus Vajda, and Bela Balazs, from the 1928 opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, based on The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay (1728); French adapt André Mauprey, Solange Bussi, and Ninon Steinhoff; Cinematog Fritz Arno Wagner; Art dir Andrej Andrejew; Music Kurt Weill, arranged by Theo Mackeben; Edit (German) Hans Oser, (French) Henri Rust; Act (French version) Albert Préjean (Mackie), Florelle (Polly Peachum), Jane Marken (Mrs. Peachum), Gaston Modot (Peachum), Jacques Henley (Tiger Brown), Antonin Artaud (a beggar), Margo Lion (Jenny), and Bill Bockett (hand organ).

L’Opéra de quat’sous was filmed in Germany in two versions, with the French cast featuring Florelle, Albert Préjean, and Gaston Modot. The practice of importing French actors to Germany, England, or America to make “French” films had been normal when French studios were not yet equipped for sound, but continued throughout the early 1930s for French versions of local films (see L’Étrange Monsieur Victor, #77). L’Opéra de quat’sous was the first of Georg-Wilhelm Pabst’s films to be so made. It was the second in what is sometimes called his pacifist, or more accurately “social,” trilogy, coming between Westfront 18 (Quatre de l’infanterie) and Kameradschaft (La Tragédie de la mine). The first of the trilogy was a war film calculated to incite a detestation of all wars, while the last was set in a mine deep below the Franco-German frontier, where during a disaster, German miners come to the help of their French colleagues. Class sympathies are stronger than national rivalries, but after a brief period of fraternization, the grills come down once again and national differences are officially reasserted.

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Part II. 1946–1951

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

PART II

1946–1951

31. La Bataille du rail

Battle of the Rail

Filmed late 1944–1945; released 27 February 1946 85 min, b&w

Dir René Clément; Prod Coopérative Générale du Cinéma Français; Scr Clément and Colette Audry; Cinematog Henri Alekan; Music Yves Baudrier; Sound Constantin Evangelou; Edit Lucien Desagneux; Act Jean Clarieux, Jean Durand, and Léon Pauléon (railway workers), Tony Laurent (Camargue), Lucien Desagneaux (Athos), and Robert Leray (stationmaster).

In the three years following the liberation, a large number of scripts were elaborated evoking heroic French participation in the Resistance. This was the first of them to be released, and one of the best. Among those that followed, the most watchable are Les Démons de l’aube, Le Père tranquille (#36), La Bataille de l’eau lourde, Le Silence de la mer (#56), and Jeux interdits (#74), while the most successful by far were this one, Mission spéciale, La Bataille de l’eau lourde, Jéricho, and Le Bataillon du ciel. Most of those made immediately after the war benefited from the respect accorded by the government and the public to men of the left, and particularly to the communists who had formed the bulk of the resistants, but once Cold War sentiment shifted to the right, there was a noticeable retreat in the number of such scripts, followed by a surprising resurgence in the years 1959–1960.

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1938

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

Hatred

France, 1938, 91 min, b&w

Dir Robert Siodmak; Asst dir Rodolphe Marcilly and Pierre Prévert; Prod Corniglion-Molinier; Scr Charles Spaak and Oscar-Paul Gilbert, from the book by Gilbert; Cinematog Eugen Schüfftan; Music Darius Milhaud and Jacques Dallin; Sets Alexandre Trauner; Edit Léonide Azar; Act Harry Baur (Mollenard), Albert Préjean (ship’s mate), Jacques Baumer (director of shipping company), Pierre Renoir (Bonnerot), Gabrielle Dorziat (Madame Mollenard), Elisabeth Pitoëff (Marie Mollenard), Robert Lynen (Gianni Mollenard), Maurice Bacquet, Marcel Dalio, Gina Manès, and Foun-Sen.

Francis Courtade includes Mollenard in his canon of five Popular Front films—Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (#46), La Vie est à nous (#49), La Belle Équipe (#51), Les Bas-Fonds, and Mollenard—“which are powerfully expressive of the social effervescence of the time and of the aspirations of millions of working men.”91 Few would question the other four, some would wish to add to the list, but most would be greatly bemused by the inclusion of Mollenard. Geneviève Guillaume-Grimaud, in a useful book devoted specifically to the cinema of the Popular Front, does not once mention Mollenard. Certainly there is in the film no direct reference to political events, class conflict, cooperatives, or the plight of the workers. Courtade defends its inclusion on the grounds that Captain Mollenard, a man of the people married as chance would have it to a representative of the propertied class, is “a sort of rock standing out against the interests of the great trading merchants, the hypocritical façade of official ceremonies, that ‘respectable bourgeois society’ whose collusion with the Church had never since Lange been so openly decried.”92

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1932

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

Blood of a Poet

France, 1932, 65 min, b&w

Dir and Scr Jean Cocteau; Asst dir Michel Arnaud and Louis Page; Prod Vicomte de Noailles; Cinematog Georges Périnal; Music Georges Auric; Art dir Jean d’Eaubonne; Sound Henri Labrély; Act Enrique Rivero (the poet), Lee Miller (the statue), Pauline Carton, Féral Benga (black angel), Jean Desbordes, and Odette Talazac.

In 1929, the Vicomte de Noailles provided Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel, and Man Ray with a million francs each to produce whatever films they wanted to in total liberty. Buñuel produced L’Âge d’or (#3); Cocteau produced Le Sang d’un poète. Initially an animated film had been proposed, but Cocteau rapidly came to see that the necessary techniques were complex and would take much of the control out of his hands. He decided to make a film exploring visually and dynamically the same themes that he had been exploring in his literary works and sketches. His desire for total personal control made him one of the first and most outspoken advocates of what was later to be called auteurism: “A work written by one man and brought to the screen by another is merely a translation. . . . A writer must not let someone else interpret a work written with his left hand, but rather plunge both hands into the work and construct an object in a style equivalent to his writing style.”56

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