15 October 2005 | dbdumonteil
Casque d'or :French cinema at its best!
In a poll in 1979 ,Becker's chef d'oeuvre was part of the top ten of the best French movies of all time.
It's arguably Becker's best work;he achieved a luminous movie with many unforgettable scenes : -the small boats on the river,and the pack arriving at the guinguettes,those cafes down by the river Seine which are no longer part of the landscapes.(remember Duvivier's "la belle équipe" ,1936) -all the scenes in the country where the nature seems to protect the lovers as a mother would do.Most of all,this admirable sequence when Reggiani 's sleeping :he opens his eyes and Marie's luminous beauty moves him deeply -never a director filmed Signoret as Becker did- -The scene which climaxes the opus is the one in the church.They hear the whole congregation sing the "Kyrie " in a tiny church:there's a wedding there.So Marie urges Manda to come in and they attend the ceremony.When they leave ,they learn tragic news.Now the bell is tolling for them,even if these are wedding bells.
-The final scenes between Reggiani/Manda and his old pal Bussières /Raymond display Becker's love of loyalty,manly friendship ,a subject which would come back in later works ,muted in "touchez pas au grisbi" and became an absolute pessimism in "le trou" where nobody could be trusted anymore.
-The score which Becker used in the last sequences is none other than the old French folk song "le temps des cerises" actually an organizing song,a revolutionary song ,since it was the anthem of the Commune in 1871.
"Casque d'or" is one of the jewels of the French cinema.Becker used to like the Apaches (=ruffians) ,the outcast,cause he would transfer Leblanc's Arsene Lupin adventures to the screen in 1957.A failed attempt though.But "Casque d'or" generally looked upon as Becker's peak ,hasn't aged a bit.