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Friday, November 30, 2018

Les Aristocrates (1955)

On a country estate in Burgundy, the patriarch (Pierre Fresnay) of an impoverished family of aristocrats finds himself out of step with modern ideas and times. Ideas of money and happiness taking precedence over honor and duty go against the very grain of the traditions of the true aristocracy. His seven children however are ready to break tradition and go on with their lives. Based on the novel by Michel De Saint Pierre and directed by Denys De La Patelliere. A strong drama that should be better known outside of France. While we can see Fresnay's ideas are outdated in a contemporary society, we can't help but feel for him. As we all grow older, who hasn't felt the world change and our status quo challenged? The film is not without humor but the last 12 minutes or so take a very dark turn (a crazed man with a rifle holds a group of children hostage) and the film ends on a downbeat note. There's a strong but subtle underscore by Rene Cloerec. The large cast includes Maurice Ronet, Brigitte Auber (who appeared in Hitchcock's TO CATCH A THIEF the same year), Francois Guerin, Georges Descrieres, Alain Quercy, Jacques Dacqmine and Yolande Laffon.

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