Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Baptiste is a mime and falls for a putain who calls herself Garance. He finds her at a sideshow sitting nude in a tub and regarding herself in a mirror. This is one of her occupations. Another is seduction. Garance has many lovers in Children of Paradise: the great actor Frederick, the muderous thief Lacenaire, and the cool and aloof Count Eduard. She loves none of them, but Baptist fails to take her when he has the chance, and circumstances separate the lovers for si years. Each ends up in a loveless but secure relationship, Garance with Eduard and Baptiste with an actress.
Because of his suffering, Baptiste becomes an enormous star. Secretly Garance attends his shows. They hook up. Lacenaire and Frederick and Eduard are all participants or spectators or victims in a tragedy mirrored often in the public performances of the characters onstage. A complex film and technically superior (especially considering it was shot during WW2). I found it left me cold, however. I could admire its beauty but felt nothing for the characters or their situations.