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A new digital restoration of Marcel Carné's doom-haunted masterpiece, about an army deserter (Jean Gabin) trying to flee from the fog-shrouded port city of Le Havre.
New digital restoration!
We are thrilled to present the recent restoration by the Cinémathèque française of a key French film. (Aki Kaurismäki's recent hit Le Havre is an extended homage to it, right down to the lovable mutt.) The first film to bring together director Marcel Carné, writer Jacques Prévert and designer Alexandre Trauner (who would reunite for Le Jour se lève and Les Enfants du paradis), Le Quai des brumes defined a style or mood dubbed "poetic realism," characterized by a fusion of the lyrical and fatalistic and an atmosphere of weariness and doom, which was to influence much subsequent French filmmaking, as well as American film noir. Jean Gabin plays an army deserter who flees to the port city of Le Havre and falls in love with Nelly (Michèle Morgan); but the two cannot escape from their sordid surroundings because her sinister guardian (Michel Simon) has other plans. Hard to say what is more indelible: the worn-out, on-the-run Gabin, briefly renewed by passion; svelte, almond-eyed Morgan in her trench coat and beret; or Trauner's fog-enshrouded seaside sets, evocative of the pre-war mood of entrapment and hopelessness. The Vichy regime banned the film as demoralizing, and when Hollywood did the remake, the studio attempted to have all existing prints destroyed; lucky for us, they didn't succeed. "As epochal as any film made in France in the 1930s" (Luc Sante).