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Grand Illusions: French Cinema Classics, 1928–1960

Sunday, November 25, 2012
3:00 p.m. Douce
Claude Autant-Lara (France, 1943)

Imported 35mm Print!


(Love Story). Douce sensitively portrays the passion of a rich young girl (Odette Joyeux) for the manager of her family estate. Her dreamy romanticism is overpowered by a jealous governess (Madeleine Robinson) and a willful, aristocratic grandmother (Marguerite Moréno). Bertrand Tavernier wrote, “Douce’s strength and richness, its virulent social criticism—interspersed with moments of tenderness—and its romantic creativity were, and still are, amazing. The intelligent narrative—both sharp and lively, denouncing stupidity as well as injustice, and trusting the audience—is supplemented by the sheer grace and innocence of the story. . . . This film, often noted only for its gloominess, appeals . . . because of its sympathy for the secret feelings of its characters, its outbursts of simmering revolt, Douce’s longing for happiness.”

• Written by Autant-Lara, based on a novel by Michel Davet. Photographed by Philippe Agostini. With Odette Joyeux, Marguerite Moréno, Jean Debucourt, Madeleine Robinson. (90 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Institut Français, permission Janus Films/Criterion Collection)