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  • writers_reign21 December 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Pierre Chenal made this gem a scant two years after La Foire aux chimeres which a good friend of mine would probably argue is his masterpiece - and I would probably second his opinion - and that translates (in my book, at least) to two exceptional films shot back-to- back. Chenal is very much in Claude Autant-Lara country here with his anti-Church, anti-Army film and that is no bad thing. Not everyone, of course, will have read or even be aware of the source material, a delicious satirical novel by Gilbert Chevalier but should they do so they will find it complements the film to a fare-thee-well and vice versa. Marcel Pagnol was no slouch when it came to peopling small towns/villages with wonderfully colourful cross-sections of human life but he'd be hard put to better Chenals' Clochemerle, a town with as rich a population as you will find anywhere, charged with the task of finding a suitable memorial to the honored dead of World War One (the film is set in 1923) and coming up with the very French solution of a public urinal. This is merely a catalyst for a series of brilliant chain reactions including the impregnation of a local maid by the village idiot, the calling out of the Gallic equivalent of the National Guard and that's just for starters; a wonderfully rich bouillabaisse of a movie.
  • Scandals in the small village of Clochemerle where a baroness and a bunch of churchy holier-than -thou women rebel against the building of a public urinal on the village square .But there' s a whole lot of things going on in the place:a child of Mary getting pregnant by a village idiot which the Army made a corporal of ,women cheating on their husbands ,a vicar overtaken by events.... In order to save the third Republic (!)the Army arrives and declares a state of emergency complete with curfew .A violent spoof on both the Church and the Army,this movie still retains some funny moments but the caricature is too ponderous and the many bawdy lines might be off-putting for today's audience.