Grand Illusion (1937)

Where Jean Gabin portrayed a doomed working class hero in Le jour se lève, in Grand Illusion (La grande illusion), he played perhaps the most hopeful symbol of the victorious proletariat that French Poetic Realism would ever come to offer.  Grand Illusion uses his character as but one of several others showing the disintegration of the old world, and the rebuilding of a new one after the earth-shattering imbalance of World War I.  It tells the story of humanity, divided vertically by borders and divided horizontally by social class.  It tells the story of the war that shattered these distinctions: gone were the days of gentleman’s battles, glorious deaths, and the rules of the game.  A new world order, one more unified in both suffering and success was being born.  Out of this carnage and pain could come a new type of freedom, one both symbolic and practical, one that would elevate the lower class and destroy the arbitrary divisions that threatened humankind. Continue reading

Le jour se lève (1939)

“A killer! Now there’s something to gossip about! Sure, I’m a killer, but killers are a dime a dozen! They’re everywhere! Everyone kills! They just do it quietly, so you don’t see. It’s like sand. It gets deep inside you.”

So exclaims Jean Gabin’s famous proletarian hero from his apartment balcony to the curious masses below in Marcel Carné’s 1939 masterpiece, Le jour se lève.

Many critics, when asked which movie acts as the quintessential example of film noir, would say The Maltese Falcon. When asked which film most exemplifies the precepts of the screwball comedy, many experts would likely tag It Happened One Night.  When it comes to the American Western, they likely cite Stagecoach.  Well, in my opinion, if you were to ask which film most embodies the general characteristics, images, and ideas of French Poetic Realism, the answer would be  Le jour se lève. Continue reading

88th Annual Academy Awards

Perhaps you could call this year the year of the Blockbuster.  Or, the year of the colon.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Mad Max: Fury Road, the list kind of goes on and on when it comes to the colonated titles that did more than just “grace” the box office charts.  Continue reading

Ranking and Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as of May 2015)

As I always do, I am taking a quick break from my current curriculum to have some fun.  With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron a couple weeks ago, as well as the season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season Two just days ago, I have decided to indulge myself and whomever else would like to join me as we talk Marvel.

Of course, this is the Film Sage, not Cinema Blend or ScreenCrush.  Which means that we first have to address some observations and analyses that I have made of this popular genre.  Then, I’ll try to rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or, MCU) for your reading pleasure.

Image result for the mcu Continue reading

Red River (1948)

Like I’ve already said, 1948 was an important year for the Western.  This isn’t only because a lot of Westerns came out that year.  It’s because, primarily, two Westerns came out that year.  These two Westerns are The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Red River.  Together, they represent a bridge into a new era of this signature American genre: from the mythic hero-epics of the 1930s and 1940s to the character-focused mythic tragedies of the 1950s and 1960s. Continue reading