Friday, 14 October 2011

The Wages of Fear: The Films of Henri-Georges Clouzot at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Image from The Wages of War, Photo Credit: Janus

I first heard of Henri-Georges Clouzot when L' Enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot had a limited theatrical release back in February 2010, and two of my colleagues that I have close alignment in tastes with went out of their way to recommend the film to me with an enthusiasm I can still feel in my bones today. I sadly missed it at the time, but I'm thrilled to see that it's playing during The Wages of Fear: The Films of Henri-Georges Clouzot, a retrospective at TIFF Lightbox that is showcasing over 10 of Henri-Georges Clouzot's films along with the documentary L' Enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot from now until the end of November. Delving deep into the dark side of human nature and gorgeous imagery are contrasting themes that instantly pop out at me from viewing Le Corbeau and Le Mystère Picasso (see reviews below). I find it amazing to see such beauty contrasted with the bleakness, the air of art the power of vision is so intriguing and I, and I'm sure many others, will hunger for more. Good thing we have lots to choose from!

Photo from: Le Corbeau, Image Credit: FRL

The Raven / Le Corbeau
Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cast: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson, Liliane Maigné, Pierre Larquey
France, 1943

I have to love The Raven / Le Corbeau, just for the sheer fact it brought the term 'poison-pen' into my vocabulary. The film is set in a small town where a series of these 'poison-pen' letters turn the townsfolk against each other as it reveals their secrets and/or tells lies and cast doubt on everyone's intentions and actions. The poison-pen quickly transfers to poison-lips and pointing fingers as anyone and everyone becomes a suspect as often as a target. When all the dirty laundry gets laid out, no amount of scrubbing can get anyone clean. The doubt and suspicion cloud the judgment of all as the harshness and fear festers and spread like wildfire. I think every time the camera pointed on a different character I thought "It must be them!", then it would change to someone else, and someone else and someone else until I didn't even remember who the first person was. An amazing study of human nature, paranoia in a deep dark setting that is unnervingly accessible. The beautiful blend of grit and suave paired with a great mystery makes it a joy to watch even if it follows the darkest of intentions. The Raven / Le Corbeau is absolutely stunning and I highly recommend it.

Le Corbeau plays on Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 9:00 PM at TIFF Lightbox in Toronto. See more information on the retrospective here or buy tickets here.

Photobucket Photobucket
Images Credit: FRL

The Mystery of Picasso / Le Mystère Picasso
Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot
France, 1956

Wow. The Mystery of Picasso / Le Mystère Picasso is amazing. This film actually allows us to see art created by the one and only Pablo Picasso. By actual hand stroke, to the images simply appearing in real time to time-lapsed multimedia works that condense hours into minutes, and all set to music set to the tone of the work be it jaunty and lively to melancholy to festive. It leads by proposing an interesting point of view on art, that it can be understand by seeing it being created. I was taken aback by that statement, not knowing going in whether or not I agreed with it but I will concede I did feel like I understood the art, and the artist, more after seeing these works of art created. I'm a lover of process, from art to theatre to life itself and being able to see such a master of art in his process was a wonderous and beautiful thing. It also surprizingly had a beautiful sense of humour, with the interplay between artist and director and also to see Picasso reflect on his work as it seems that even at that level you aren't always happy with the end result. For artists & art lovers alike The Mystery of Picasso / Le Mystère Picasso is a must-see film. A rare treat.

Le Mystère Picasso plays on Sunday October 16, 2011 at 4 PM and Tuesday October 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM at TIFF Lightbox in Toronto. See more information on the retrospective here or buy tickets here.

Below is a listing of all the films showing as a part of the retrospective. Check back in November for more reviews for the retrospective including Les Espions and L’Enfer d’Herni-Georges Clouzot.

The Wages of Fear: The Films of Henri-Georges Clouzot at TIFF Bell Lightbox showings:
  • The Wages of Fear (new full-length print) on Thursday October 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM, Sunday October 16, 2011 at 6:30 PM, Tuesday October 18, 2011 at 8:45 PM and Wednesday October 19, 2011 at 9:30 PM
  • Quai des Orfèvres on Friday October 14, 2011 at 6:30 PM
  • The Murderer Lives at 21, preceded by La Terreur de Batignolles on Saturday October 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM
  • Le Mystère Picasso on Sunday October 16, 2011 at 4 PM and Tuesday October 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM
  • Manon on Thursday October 27, 2011 at 9:00 PM
  • Le Corbeau on Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 9:00 PM
  • Miquette et sa mère on Tuesday November 8, 2011 at 9:15 PM
  • La Prisonnière on Thursday November 10, 2011 at 6:30 PM
  • La Vérité on Tuesday November 15, 2011 8:45 PM
  • Diabolique on Thursday November 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM and Tuesday November 22, 2011 at 6:30 PM
  • Les Espions on Thursday November 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM
  • L' Enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot on Tuesday November 29, 2011 at 8:45 PM
The Wages of Fear: The Cinema of Henri-Georges Clouzot retrospectve runs from October 13 – November 29, 2011 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Suzie Ridler said...

What a well-written post! And you got me wanting to watch both films. Only one (The Raven) is available at my library but I hope to watch it soon, thank to you Shannon! Perfect for October. Thank you!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Thanks Suzie! The Raven is a great non-traditional choice for the spooky month of October!

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