Before World War I in Paris, a budding artist, Pierre Leblanc, falls in love and marries Janine, a dressmaker's assistant. Pierre has a flair for designing clothes, and he and his bride ... See full summary »
Actually the right year is 1939.The title (lost paradise) tells it all.Like many works of the era,"paradis perdu" is an omen of the impending storm about to break.Abel Gance had already warned everybody with his remake of "j'accuse" two years before."Paradis perdu" is not really a manifesto,although it does include WW1 sequences ,it's actually a melodrama.Like "j'accuse" it features two distinct parts .People generally agree that the first part ,which describes the building of the "paradise" and the brief hours of happiness, is the strongest.The second part moves too fast :the daughter grows up overnight and there's a subplot (a love affair between the widower and a girl who is younger than his daughter) which gets in the way.At least it allows Abel Gance to regain his famous grandiloquence for the last sequence which compares favorably with that of Sirk's "imitation of life" .
Although Elvire Popesco is at the top of the cast ,the real star is Micheline Presles who portrays both the wife and the daughter.