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Grand Illusions: French Cinema Classics, 1928–1960

Friday, November 23, 2012
4:00 p.m. Marius
Alexander Korda (France, 1931)

Pagnol directed only one of his Fanny Trilogy, as the films Marius, Fanny, and César are affectionately known, but he is the true auteur of all three films about the inhabitants of the old port of Marseilles. See one or see all three—each is a gem on its own. Marius establishes the characters of César (Raimu), philosopher-at-large and proprietor of a quayside bar; his son Marius (Pierre Fresnay), whose dreams of a life at sea blind him and finally bind him to the love of Fanny, a fishmonger (Orane Demazis); and Panisse (Charpin), a kindly widower who quotes poetry from face-cream pots and waits in the wings for Fanny’s hand. Both Marius and Panisse’s wishes are granted, but it’s no fairy tale.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Marcel Pagnol from his play. Photographed by Ted Pahle. With Raimu, Orane Demazis, Pierre Fresnay, Charpin. (122 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Kino International, permission Compagnie Méditerranéenne de Films)