From Joan of Arc to Philippe Pétain (1944)

  |  Documentary, History


From Joan of Arc to Philippe Pétain (1944) Poster

Sitting at his desk, Guitry gives us a lecture on French history from Joan of Arc to the Occupation, with some focus on a number of its great writers and musicians.


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16 February 2008 | dbdumonteil
1429-1942
This film was shown in the movie theaters two months before the landing and afterward completely disappeared only to reappear in 1993. This is of course a propaganda movie .But not more than Stelli's "Le Voile BLeu" .

Beginning his movie with an evocation of Joan of Arc was not completely incongruous ; Guitry probably thought it was a sign from God ;1429: Joan's odyssey begins ;birth of the Homeland ,1942: under the yoke of the Nazis ,but still proud of its past ,the country remembers .1429,1942 sinister anagram.Joan found since taken over by the far right wing .

Although by no means one of those "historical" movies Guitry was famous for ("Si Paris (Versailles) M'Etait Conté" "Les Perles de la Couronne" ),"De JA à PP " is a much more modest interesting document .It's a lecture by Guitry himself sitting as his desk and flipping through "files" .

"France has got to prepare its past ,Guitry declares,(for there is no future anymore?)while beginning his lesson in history.Strange how the kings (Henri IV ,Louis XIV) and the ministers (Colbert) disappear after the seventeenth century :one should note that the FRench Revolution and his great ideas are completely passed over in silence;the German censorship would not have agreed."La Marseillaise" is heard only at the end of the work,out of its context.

The "politicians " are absent during the 1715 -1942 era (except of course the Marechal the film is dedicated to.)The artists get the lion's share .We have Molière ,compared to God,good readings of Lamartine 's (how apt!) "Pensées des Morts " by Madeleine Renaud and other poems by renowned actors and actresses.Artists such as Cocteau also contribute.Musicians are also recalled :Berlioz,Bizet and Ravel and his "Bolero".The scientists are not forgotten: there's a moving reading of the letter where Pasteur writes he is going to be his own guineapig for his rabies vaccine.

After the liberation,it is an euphemism to write that Guitry's career ran into difficulties.Who could forgive him such a work when Carné and Prévert were filming veiled hints at tyranny ("Les Visiteurs du Soir") or helping Jews work in secret (Trauner :"Les Enfants Du Paradis" settings)?Some people pointed out that Guitry always had enough coal to heat his luxury town house (and his works of art).He spent some time in jail but the fourth republic restored him to favor and some of his masterpieces were to follow (particularly "la Vie D'Un Honnête Homme" )

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Plot Summary


Genres

Documentary | History

Details

Release Date:

4 May 1944

Language

French


Country of Origin

France

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