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Often considered to be France's answer to Gone With the Wind, Marcel Carné's sweeping romantic epic focuses on a love quadrangle set amidst the boisterous theatrical world of Paris in the 1840s.
New digital restoration!
"Carné's film has never looked more lush!" (Time Out New York). If you think that you have seen Marcel Carné's eternal classic, voted the best French film of the century in a poll of 600 French film critics and professionals, think again: it now returns to us in a sumptuous restoration taken from the camera negative. Made during the Nazi Occupation, Les Enfants du paradis was shot in two parts to avoid the Germans' edict that no French film could be more than ninety minutes long. Set in the theatrical world of Paris in the 1840s — the title refers to "the children of the gods," the rowdy patrons in the cheap seats — the film features a dream ensemble: alluring Arletty as the Garbo-like courtesan Garance; Jean-Louis Barrault as Baptiste, the delicate mime who loves her; flamboyant Pierre Brasseur as a mugging tragedian; and Marcel Herrand as the dangerous dandy Lacenaire. An epic of romantic yearning, betrayal and murder, Les Enfants du paradis is "Carné's triumphant masterpiece! Still rules the seas of French cinema like some proud galleon, the ultimate exemplar of classical filmmaking, great acting, and a perfectly constructed screenplay. For many critics, it remains the finest French film ever made" (Peter Cowie).