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Chosen by Jean-Luc Godard as the best film made in postwar France, Max Ophüls' trio of de Maupassant tales features a dream cast headed by Jean Gabin and Danielle Darrieux.
Imported from France, a 35mm print of the work Jean-Luc Godard chose as the best film made in postwar France. (He also pronounced its title "the greatest in all cinema.") Le Plaisir features a dream cast headed by Jean Gabin and Danielle Darrieux, and is based on three de Maupassant tales. In the first, an old man temporarily regains his youth by wearing a magic mask to a ball; in the second, a group of prostitutes goes on an annual country outing; in the last, a painter who makes mistresses of his models is forced to marry one (Simone Simon) after she attempts to commit suicide. "One of Ophüls' most lavish films" (Richard Roud), Le Plaisir has a stringent elegance which intensifies its emotional impact. "Ophülsian cinema is best exemplified in the magnificent scene at the end of Le Plaisir... The intense emotion which Ophüls can conjure up as we follow the masked dancer, circling till he falls, may well never be surpassed in cinema" (Jon Halliday).