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Ep. 73: Children of Paradise

Flixwise Podcast

Release Date: 09/25/2018

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At long last, Lady P and Martin are doing a show together again. They are joined in their reunion by film fanatic, and Wrong Reel mainstay, Becky D'Anna. The three of them join forces to tackle Marcel Carné's lengthy, 1945 period drama, Les Enfants du Paradis (aka Children of Paradise). The film was initially released in two parts, and remains bifurcated even in it's completed form. The first part, "Boulevard du Crime", follows the rising star of a young mime named Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), who makes the leap from penniless street performer to veteran actor at a famous theatre. This part also introduces us to Baptiste's love interest, Garance (Arletty), a courtesan to whom Baptiste pledges his undying love. Initially, Garance doesn't seem to feel the same level of devotion, as she's got three other suitors vying for her affection, and she eventually opts to be with a wealthy Count over Baptiste. However, in the second half of the film "L'Homme Blanc", after a six year time-jump, it is revealed that Garance has been carrying a torch for Baptiste and would still like to be with him. The remainder of the film explores the will-they/won't-they dynamic of that relationship, as well as the other criminal entanglements of the tertiary characters.

We here at Flixwise ascribe to the conviction that a mime is a terrible thing to waste (Thanks Mel!), however, three plus hours of backstage pantomime drama can prove taxing to even the most ardent theatre nerd. Listen up to find out how well the misadventures of Baptiste and co. held our panelists's attention and whether the broader themes of tragic love and virtuous poverty hold up in 2018. They also discuss the remarkable circumstances of the film's production, and whether there are traces of Nazi propaganda or subversive French Resistance messaging in the material. Plus, they decide whether the film is worthy of the 73rd spot on the Sight and Sound list.