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Grand Illusions: French Cinema Classics, 1928–1960

Friday, November 23, 2012
7:00 p.m. Fanny
Marc Allégret (France, 1932)

The Fanny Trilogy is ostensibly concerned with the passions of the youngsters, Marius and Fanny, but it is the older generation who dominate. They are the spinners of fantasy, theirs the impossible logic and fast-talking energy that are life itself in this quayside community. This is true from the sidewalk gents who take bets on the melodrama unfolding before them, to Fanny’s manipulating Mama, to Panisse, and especially César. Orson Welles once called Raimu the greatest actor of the cinema, and it is Raimu’s presence that pulls the threads of this twenty-year saga into a beautiful whole. The second film in the trilogy may be Fanny’s tragedy, but it is César’s story, as he asserts his strange wisdom and his mad love to create something marvelous—a family—out of characters who are all “at sea.”

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Marcel Pagnol. Photographed by Nicolas Toporkoff, Roger Hubert. 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)