16 April 2006 | dbdumonteil
Mother,I needed you !You didn't need me!
...so I ..I just got to tell you :Goodbye!goodbye!(John Lennon)
A prostitute is going up the mountain.Up there,lives her son she left to a shepherd to take care of him.These first minutes are perhaps the best:the mother brings toys to her child but he cannot play,"playing" is a thing he's never done;she did not intend to bring him back with her,but after a night in the same bed ,she understands she cannot live without him.So she takes him down to Marseille.
Marseille is the city the place where evil dwells .It's interesting to notice that the mountains (beginning) and the sea (ending)are providential,they represent purity and honesty.
Jeanson's lines ,even when applied to melodrama ,never lose their bite .The boy asks his mother what she does for a living ."I'm in business" she replies.The boy will have to share his mother with her clients.The lady would like to settle down,but unfortunately she chooses the most despicable macho on the harbor (he claims he is a navigator),a hopeless crook and a coward at that.
Madeleine Robinson was one of the greatest French actresses,in the grand tradition of Arletty and Simone Signoret.And Delannoy's movie is also in the grand tradition of the so-called Réalisme Poétique (Carné's "Hotel du Nord" and "Quai des Brumes" ) and of we've got to call Neo-Réalisme Poétique (Yves Allégret's "Dédée d' Anvers" and Marcel Blistène's "Macadam" ).The final scene when the wailing of the ship merges with the sound of the gun recalls "Quai des Brumes" .
"There are boys ,you've got to make men of 'em,and there are boys ,you've got to make boys of 'em" the wise sailor says.
Another very interesting film by Jean Delannoy ,whose whole work may sink into oblivion if the French audience is not careful and does not give it a chance:fail to do it and one day the French cinema will be boiled down to the "Nouvelle Vague" clique.