NON COUPABLE
NOT GUILTY
1947, TF1, 95 min, France, Dir: Henri Decoin

The “provincial gothic” (a subgenre of French noir that evolved during the Occupation era) takes a macabre turn into madness in this tale of a small-town doctor (a towering Michel Simon) who develops dangerous delusions of grandeur when he gets away with the killing of a local adversary. He hatches a plan for multiple murders - and continues to get away with them. Will his beleaguered girlfriend (Jany Holt) find a way to stop his killing spree? Or is he truly invincible? Director Decoin and screenwriter Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon show us that postwar French noir needed no help from its American counterpart to tap into extremes of mayhem and misanthropy. The screening of a restored print of this film last year in Lyon literally left the audience speechless - don't miss it!


RAZZIA SUR LA CHNOUF
1955, Kino Lorber, 105 min, France, Dir: Henri Decoin

Fresh from his success in TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI, Jean Gabin plays a more mysterious character in director Henri Decoin’s adaptation of a novel by Auguste Le Breton (RIFIFI). Is he hard at work trying to streamline the Paris drug trade for his longtime boss (Marcel Dalio) or is he really in cahoots with the police? Featuring a dream cast of French noir specialists (Lino Ventura, Magali Noel, Lila Kedrova, Albert Rémy).


THE TRUTH OF OUR MARRIAGE
LA VERITÉ SUR BÉBÉ DONGE
1952, Gaumont, 110 min, Dir: Henri Decoin

Jean Gabin after World War II became a much different figure in French cinema, more paternal than proletarian. His role in BÉBÉ DONGE, Decoin’s very dark melodrama about a marriage that has literally gone toxic, is one of his least likable roles - but is among his most fascinating performances. His delirious ruminations while lying flat on his back in a hospital bed as he attempts to recover from being poisoned by his wife (played with hauntingly cold precision by Danielle Darrieux) show us just how wrong things can go between man and wife. In French with English subtitles.


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