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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Le Diable Au Corps (aka The Devil In The Flesh) (1947)

In a small French village during WWI, a 16 year old schoolboy (Gerard Philipe) and a married woman (Micheline Presle), whose husband is off fighting in the war, openly engage in an affair that scandals the town. Based on the novel by Raymond Radiguet (published at 17, hung out with Hemingway and Cocteau, dead at 20) and directed by Claude Autant Lara. This is one of those intense love stories where the lovers are so obsessed with each other that nothing else matters. Not family, not friends, not work, not school and they live only for each other, not caring who they might hurt. Inevitably it ends unhappily with either the passion burning itself out or someone dying. It's a compelling film, there's no denying but I found the agonizing passion exhausting after awhile. Gerard Philipe is such a powerful screen presence that he holds the screen even when he's still so one can easily see why Presle is taken by him. I'm not familiar with Autant-Lara's work but I'm certainly intrigued enough by this effort to want to explore his filmography further. With Denise Grey, Jean Debucourt and Jean Lara. 

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