141. Children of Paradise

Here’s my contribution for the Criterion Blogathon, hosted by Criterion Blues, Speakeasy, and Silver Screenings. Make sure to take a look at everything else being blogged this week in the Criterion-verse.

Although it’s considered one of the greatest French films ever made, I was still a little wary going into a 3+ hour epic featuring a mime. I shouldn’t have worried. Marcel Carné’s CHILDREN OF PARADISE is engaging and perfectly paced throughout its two parts, and the pantomime is delightful. Set in the early 1800s Parisian theater scene, the story revolves around the beautiful Garance and the men who fall for her, all based on historical figures: an actor, a crook, an aristocrat, and yes, a mime. The story woven between these characters is constantly shifting, highlighting new aspects of love, humanity, and the stage at every turn. It’s a dense, complex film that feels light and effortless. And while the performances are all outstanding, it’s Jean-Louis Barrault’s portrayal of the lovesick mime that’s the most difficult to look away from. I’m sorry I ever doubted it.

childrenofparadise

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26 comments

  1. I’d be a little wary, too, about watching such a long movie about a mime…but you’ve sold me! It sounds wonderful and, let’s face it, how often does a movie deal with the Parisian theatre set in the early 1800s? I’m in!

    Thanks for joining the blogathon with this (to me) unknown movie. Aaron at Criterion Blues says you drew the illustration. It’s gorgeous!

      1. I think film reviews are your thing, too. I liked that it was short and sweet, which means there are lots of things to discover when a person sees the film for the 1st time.

  2. Must see this movie, thanks for highlighting it, and I’ve enjoyed discovering your site(s) through this event and browsing around to look at your fab artwork!

  3. I’m planning on watching this film soon, and your post got me more excited! You’ve created a really lovely illustration for it too, I’ll have to go through your site and look at your other artwork as well. 🙂

  4. Very glad I discovered your site. Great visuals. Like you, pretty much seeing all these great films for the first time and like you try not to give too much spoilers if possible. And unlike you, I cannot draw! Congratulations on winning the Most Original Award!

  5. I let the bluray of this sit on my shelf unwatched for about 9 months with the exact same hesitations as you. I fully regret that I hadn’t watched it sooner. It’s absolutely marvelous. Great entry!

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