PORT OF SHADOWS
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
"PREWAR PERFECTION! Everything in Jacques Prévert’s script is essential—seemingly throwaway lines loop back to revelations, and shoulder shrugs sum up characters—without sacrificing an overarching, undefinable sense of operatic futility. For these outcasts, life is as heavy and elusive as the fog that never abates in this port town; and the film’s greatness arises from its belief in the transcendence of impermanence, in the immortality of fleeting but true affections."
– Eric Hynes, Time Out New York
“A MARVELLOUSLY MOODY THRILLER!
Seldom has the seedy side of life seemed so utterly seductive.”
– Geoff Andrew
"DRIPS WITH PREWAR ROMANTIC FATALISM whose emblem could be Michèle Morgan’s Nelly, hands stuffed into the pockets of her trench coat, its folds catching the light just so. The restoration gives renewed clarity and luster to the black-and-white mist-slicked night world of Le Havre."
– Rachel Saltz, The New York Times
BREATHTAKING NEW DCP RESTORATION!
DIRECTED BY MARCEL CARNÉ • STARRING JEAN GABIN, MICHÈLE MORGAN
(1938) “Thanks to you, I’ve been happy once in my life.” In a lonely flophouse on a spit of land at the edge of Le Havre, outsiders converge: Jean Gabin’s hungry, broke, pugnacious, probably AWOL soldier; mysterious teenager Michèle Morgan in iconic beret and plastic raincoat; cheerfully disillusioned painter Robert Le Vigan; knickknack shopkeeper Michel Simon, proclaiming his honesty and love for sacred music, but sporting one of the cinema’s creepiest beards; and homme dur wannabe Pierre Brasseur, perpetually in search of the missing “Maurice.” Ultimately the choice comes down to a ship out or a continuing pursuit of a sudden love, in the first of the worldwide successes of director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert (Le Jour se Lève, Children of Paradise, etc.), the archetypal exemplar of pre-war poetic realism. This stunning new Studiocanal restoration features an all-new translation and subtitles by Lenny Borger. Approx. 91 min. DCP.
A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE
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“The film that impressed me the most was Port of Shadows. I can still remember coming out of the theater in a daze, overcome by the beauty of Michele Morgan’s eyes, her sad smile, and her trenchcoat, as well as by the poetic misty quality of the setting of the film and its tragic ending. I thought that this was a film about life as it really is, and that I had never seen anything like it before.”
- Richard Roud, Rediscovering French Film
“In 1938, no film looked more revolutionary than Port of Shadows. With its opening scene of bedraggled Jean Gabin struggling down a foggy road, the very temperament of French cinema changed.”
– Dudley Andrew
“Prévert’s typically astute script is merely the starting point for one of the most roundly satisfying crime movies of the pre-war years; with its gallery of garrulous low-lifes, Alexandre Trauner’s magically evocative sets, the melancholy mists and shadows conveyed by Eugène Schüfftan’s camera, Coco Chanel’s discreetly stylish costume designs and Maurice Jaubert’s haunting score, the film is a wonder of collaborative artistry. The bittersweet atmosphere of fatalistic romanticism is brilliantly sustained by Carné and his cast.”
– Geoff Andrew
“Dark, mysterious and shrouded in sensuous fog that Gabin’s character says is part of the emotional weather he carries around with him… The dialogue by Prévert boasts glorious lines comparable to those in Children of Paradise.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Essentially, this is Film Noir, so there’s crime and romance, but both are submerged beneath a resolutely ground-level exploration of lives in crisis.”
– Dave Calhoun, Time Out (London)
“Expresses so clearly (though unconsciously) the pessimistic mood of France before the 1940 debacle that Vichy spokesmen claimed, ‘If we have lost the war it is because of Port of Shadows.’”
– Georges Sadoul