Marcel Carne

Director, Screenwriter, Critic
Marcel Carne is best known for his collaborations with screenwriter Jacques Prevert. By the time the team broke up in 1947 they had forever marked French cinema, leaving behind such undisputed masterpieces as "Le Quai ... Read more »
Born: 08/17/1906 in Paris, FR

Filmography

Director (11)

La Bible 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

La Merveilleuse visite 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Les Assasins de L'Ordre 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Young Wolves 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Trois Chambres a Manhattan 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

The Cheaters 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

L' Air de Paris 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

Thérèse Raquin 1952 (Movie)

(Director)

Les Visiteurs du soir 1947 (Movie)

(Director)

Children of Paradise 1945 (Movie)

(Director)

Le Jour Se Leve 1938 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (8)

La Bible 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

La Merveilleuse visite 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Les Assasins de L'Ordre 1970 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Young Wolves 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Trois Chambres a Manhattan 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Cheaters 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

L' Air de Paris 1954 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Thérèse Raquin 1952 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (1)

Carne: l'Homme a la Camera 1979 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Biography

Marcel Carne is best known for his collaborations with screenwriter Jacques Prevert. By the time the team broke up in 1947 they had forever marked French cinema, leaving behind such undisputed masterpieces as "Le Quai des Brumes" (1938), "Le Jour Se Leve" (1939), "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) and "Les Portes de la nuit" (1946). For ten years their work dominated the industry and their style, termed "poetic realism," had an international influence.

After working as an assistant cameraman for Jacques Feyder on "Les Nouveaux Messieurs" (1928), Carne made a short ("Nogent--Eldorado du dimanche" 1929) which so impressed Rene Clair that he hired Carne as his assistant on "Sous les toits de Paris" (1930). Carne then worked as assistant to Feyder on "Pension Mimosas" (1934) and "La Kermesse Heroique" (1935). During this period he also made publicity shorts and wrote film criticism, sometimes under the pseudonym Albert Cranche. Then, thanks to Feyder's intervention, Carne was allowed to direct his first feature, a routine melodrama called "Jenny" (1936), scripted by Jacques Prevert.

A poet whose broad appeal dervied from a unique combination of humor, sentimentality and social satire, Prevert had been associated with the surrealists as well as the Popular Front. In the best studio tradition, he and Carne gathered together a team of professionals, including set designer Alexandre Trauner and composer Maurice Jaubert (replaced on his death by Joseph Kosma).

The poetic realist style flowered as French society plunged from the euphoria of the Popular Front to the despair of the Occupation. Typically, Carne-Prevert collaborations were marked by a tension between gritty realism and the suggestion of a metaphysical dimension beyond that represented on the screen. They are noted for their lyrical language and pessimistic atmosphere, for their meticulous recreations of concrete social milieux, and for truly remarkable performances by, among others, Jean Gabin, Arletty, Michele Morgan, Michel Simon and Jules Berry.

Though their films were banned during the Occupation, Carne and Prevert were allowed to continue working together, with the clandestine assistance of Trauner and Kosma (both of whom were Jewish). Unable to portray contemporary events, the team turned instead to historical subjects. "Les Visiteurs du soir" (1942), a medieval allegory of love and death, was a considerable success in its time; its wooden performances and heavy-handed treatment, however, have aged badly. Their next film remains one of the most celebrated in cinema history. "Les Enfants du Paradis", shot during the Occupation but not released until after the Liberation, was an ambitious tale of love and theater life set in a dazzlingly recreated 19th-century Paris and featuring outstanding performances by Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault and Maria Casares, among others.

With the war over, Carne and Prevert revived poetic realism in "Les Portes de la nuit", but the film met with a poor reception from the public. When their next feature, "La Fleur de l'age", was cancelled in mid-production, the two ended their working relationship.

Carne's later career, despite his willingness to work with younger actors and new subject matter, was relatively unremarkable. Carne excelled at studio production, where reality could be recreated within the controllable confines of the sound stage, and the trend in France, encouraged by the young turks of the "nouvelle vague", was to take film out of the studio and into the streets. Although he became a symbol of the New Wave filmmakers' scorn for the "tradition of quality" in French cinema, Carne left behind a body of films which have stood the test of time.

EDUCATION

Ecole d'Apprentissage du Meuble

(furniture making)

Ecole des Arts et Metiers

Milestones

1992

Attempted to return to filmmaking with an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's novel "Mouche"; when Carne became ill, the financing was withdrawn

1984

Paid tribute by French film industry which dedicated the Cannes Film Festival to him in honor of his 75th birthday

1977

Directed what was to be his last film, a documentary, "The Bible"

1953

Had popular hit with film adaptation of "Therese Raquin"

1946

Final screen collaboration with Jacques Prevert, the unsuccessful "Les Portes de la nuit"

1942

Directed best known feature, "Les Enfants du Paradis" (released in 1945)

1936

Feature film directing debut, "Jenny"; also first film with screenwriter Jacques Prevert

1930

First film as assistant director, "Sous les toits de Paris" (directed by Rene Clair)

1929

Short film directing debut, "Nogent, Eldorado du dimanche"

1929

Began writing for CINEMAGAZINE; later for HEBDO-FILM, CINEMONDE and FILM SONORE sometimes using pseudonym Albert Cranche

1922

First film as assistant cameraman, Jacques Feyder's "Les Nouveaux Messieurs"

Retemed with Feyder for "Le Grnad Jeu", "Pension Mimosas" and "La Kermesse Heroique"

Bonus Trivia

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Promoted to Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor in 1995; this is the Legion's highest rank.

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