Bertrand Tavernier Breaks Down the Social Consciousness of Douce

Claude Autant-Lara first rose to prominence during World War II and went on to make some of the most accomplished French films of the postwar period, but today his work is little seen. Pilloried for his supposedly staid approach by the firebrands of the French New Wave, and later condemned for the reprehensible extremist views he espoused as a member of the National Front, he remains a controversial figure in French film history. Our latest Eclipse box set gathers four romances that he produced under the Vichy regime, which deserve to be seen for the director’s exquisite visual sensibility and the remarkable performances of Odette Joyeux. In the video introduction above, produced for the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, acclaimed filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier pays loving tribute to the diamond-cut romantic tragedy Douce (1943), the brilliant dialogue of Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost, and the film’s radical take on class relations.

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