Jean Gremillon During The Occupation: Eclipse From The Criterion Collection
Though little known outside of France, Jean Gremillon is a consummate filmmaker from his country's golden age. A classically trained violinist who discovered cinema as a young man when his orchestra was hired to accompany silent movies, he went on to make almost fifty films-which ranged from documentaries to avant-garde works to melodramas with major stars-in a career that started in the mid-1920s and didn't end until the late 1950s. Three of his richest films came during a dire period in French history: Remorques, starring Jean Gabin, was begun in 1939 but finished and released after Germany invaded France, and Lumiere d'ete and Le ciel est a vous were produced during the occupation. These are character-driven dramas that reveal either a society on the precipice of doom or people breaking free of societal limitations; humane, entertaining, and technically brilliant, they show Gremillon to be one of cinema's true hidden masters.
Jean Gabin plays a tugboat captain pulled between devotion to his wife and attraction to a mysterious and sensual woman he meets during a rescue mission.
It's love and class warfare when three men and two women enact a messy romantic roundelay that devolves into bitterness and violence.
Le ciel est a vous
A small-town wife and mother (Madeline Renaud) becomes an aviatrix and dreams of breaking the women's long-distance flying record in this soaring tale of liberation.