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Film 50: History of Cinema

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
3:10 p.m. Port of Shadows
Marcel Carné (France, 1938)

Lecture/Emily Carpenter

(Quai des brumes). Port of Shadows is a melancholy poem of life and death in the lower depths of Le Havre. Jean Gabin projects stubborn dignity and deep weariness as Jean, a deserter from the French colonial army who arrives one foggy night at an otherworldly waterfront dive. There he encounters a variety of underworld characters including a beautiful, troubled young woman (Michèle Morgan), who, like Jean, dreams of some kind of escape—from the past, from the shadowy streets, and from her sinister guardian, unsettlingly played by Michel Simon. Eugen Shufftan’s atmospheric cinematography matches the lyrical pessimism of Prévert’s dialogue.

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Jacques Prévert, based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan. Photographed by Eugen Shufftan. With Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur. (91 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, DCP, From Rialto Pictures)