Edith Kramer was senior film curator and Pacific Film Archive director from 1983 until her retirement in 2005.
Bruce Loeb on piano for Pass the Gravy
Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin, Raymond Bussières,
Romantic fatalism, the French cinema of lost ideals, is associated with the 1930s, but it held sway well into the 1960s. Seeing Casque d’or, one can see why Becker was a hero for the New Wave directors. With a fluidity that almost defies narrative plotting, Becker unfolds a tale of love doomed by its setting, the Paris demimonde at the turn of the century. A young Simone Signoret is sensual and sassy as the gigolette Marie, who abandons her gangster mec for an honest carpenter, Manda (Serge Reggiani), whom she meets at a dance. Becker calls up the spirit of Auguste Renoir to create a setting (by the river at Joinville) for the lovers’ meeting and for a brief lifetime of happiness in scenes of heart-stopping sensuality. With her “golden helmet” (casque d’or) of hair, Signoret glows; Reggiani’s impassiveness is all the more moving for his ability to fuse with her.
Pass the Gravy
Fred L. Guiol, Leo McCarey, United States, 1928
Bruce Loeb on piano.
Can a pantomime dance end a feud over a prize rooster?