12 February 2019 | dbdumonteil
Well, we made a promise we swore we'd always remember....
Like soldiers in the winter's night with a vow to defend!(B. Springsteen)
Relatively speaking , Wyler's "best years of our lives" modestly transposed to the French harsh realities of the men returning from WW2 and coming against unemployement, black market ,cleared hateful collaborators, .....
Five of them on their way back home .....to be confronted to a failed career (Marcel the boxer),an unfullfilled dream to become an actor (Roger), a father who collaborated with the German occupant and who,now cleared ,is living a life of luxury (André) ;only two of them can adapt themselves to the post-war world: postman Jean (although his wife cheats on him with Roger) ,and the well -respected young man ,Philippe ,a marquis ,who most of the times ,works behind the scenes ,but who,in spite of his higher social position ,will show himself true to friendship and aware that war broke the conventional classes.
For his friends ,life has grown bitter and hard :Roger 's sister has become a singer in a lousy nightclub,under her shady manager's thumb,the sinister-looking Serge ; first dashing and bold ,he wants to become her attentive escort ;but he is immature ,in spite of the war years,and it won't be long before Serge and his boss will involve him in their penicillin black market ; André ,the student , cannot stand the vision of his father traitor cracking open bottles of champagne and joins again the army en route to Indo-China.
Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold
We swore blood brothers against the wind
I'm ready to grow young again
And maybe we could cut someplace of our own
Even though the boy from the good family background intervenes ,the end is not exactly what you call a happy one and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth
It was Jack Pinoteau 's first effort and the only one which was really interesting ;subsequent works are worthless: "Le Grand Pavois " is obsolete stuff ;by 1956 ,he had become Darry Cowl's drudge:only the actors' fans need bother following Pinoteau's dreadful descent into "Le Triporteur" and "Chéri Fais Moi Peur 3.His brother ,Claude ,was also a director ;his work with Lino Ventura is not bad ("Le Silencieux" " La Septième Cible" )
Too bad Jack Pinoteau fell so quickly after this good start :there's a genuine film noir atmosphere in his movie ;give it a try:there's something happening here.