Maria Chapdelaine (1934)

  |  Drama

Maria Chapdelaine (1934) Poster

A young woman living with her family on the frontier in Quebec, Canada, endures the hardships of isolation and climate, and chooses between three suitors: a trapper, a farmer, and an ... See full summary »


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Julien Duvivier


Louis Hémon (novel), Julien Duvivier (screenplay), Gabriel Boissy (dialogue)

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27 December 2005 | dbdumonteil
| Dedicated to you Oystein.... who love the French culture and without whom I could not have written these comments on Duvivier's earlier films which I had not seen for years.

"Maria Chapdelaine " is Canadian,you're going to tell me.But Duvivier almost treated Hémon's book as a musical.And all the songs we can hear are part (with the exception of "Alouette" ,pure Canadian stuff,but which is popular in France too)of the French national heritage.Songs of love "A la Claire Fontaine",François Paradis's favorite, country songs ("Marianne s'en Va-t-Au -Moulin" ), naughty ditties (the delightful "Son Voile qui Volait") ,Christmas carols ("Minuit Chrétiens "(aka "O Holy Night" ) and "IL est Né Le Divin Infant")and more more....

More a chronicle than a real story,"Maria Chapdelaine" is one of the rare Duvivier movies which do not feature villains.No evil here but people who have to struggle hard all their life against a hostile nature (the horse falling in the snow is a beautiful metaphor) ;the only culture they get is religion ("Maria ,if you say 1,000 "Ave Maria" before Xmas,your dream will come true") or superstition (the bonesetter).Gabin's first part (and it will not be the last!)in a Duvivier's movie:Duvivier really MADE Gabin.Jean-Pierre Aumont appears in a part of a young man who has moved to the city.

The cinematography is dazzling (even is the copy is as awful as you said ,Oystein):they say Ingmar Bergman used to dissect Duvivier's works.

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