Mordant humor from a Hitchcock showman in Nazi-occupied France
Casting a dark eye on human tendencies toward gossip and defamation, Clouzot explores the psycho-emotional havoc wreaked on a small town in the French provinces by a letter-writer whose anonymous poison-pen missives, signed "le Corbeau" (the Raven), claim to identify a wide variety of debaucherous activities on the part of various citizens. Most of the film's characters, of course, seem to have both opportunity and motive to author the letters. Even Dr. Germain (Pierre Fresnay), who's the locus of the virtiolic accusations, is a likely suspect.
Clouzot closely examines the ways that the flurry of mysterious letters arouses guilt and paranoia within the villagers, who seem to be motivated by fear and shame. The director's renowned mordant humor is on full display.
Clouzot is also a showman on the order of Hitchcock: the sequences depicting the profane appearance of new letters in sacred places -- during a church service and amidst a funeral procession -- are staggeringly well staged and photographed. There are single images in Le Corbeau that are freighted with a more accurate sense of malevolence and dread than in, say, the Lord of the Rings movies.
Cultural distance and well developed senses of cynicism probably help contemporary audiences easily relate to this stuff, which was considered outright scandalous by many of Clouzot's compatriots. The film was made in Nazi-occupied France. Clouzot went on, of course, to direct Wages of Fear and Diabolique, ambitious suspense films whose impact would be felt worldwide. (B. Frazer, Deep Focus)
Sat September 28, 2019, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
92min, France, 1943, in French w/English subtitles, Black and White
10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission.
$7 w/UCB student ID,
$7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.
Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the
Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters
along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.
Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus
International Film Series
(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.
First Person Cinema
(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.
C.U. Film Program
(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil
Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.
C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts
Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.
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10 films for $60 with punch card.
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If you want to be guaranteed a seat please arrive early. Tickets go on sale
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