Dir. Jacques Becker, 1945. 111 min. B&W. DCP.
With Raymond Rouleau, Micheline Presle, Jean Chevrier
In French with English subtitles
Celebrated Paris fashion designer Philippe Clarence lives in a world of women, surrounded by his female collaborators, models, and clients. He is also a shameless Don Juan, cataloguing his mistresses’ dresses like collection pieces in a museum. Yet the abrupt end of a short affair with Micheline, his best friend’s fiancée, drives the once carefree charmer to the edge of madness.
In this stylish melodrama—and precursor to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread—Becker uses expressive camera movements and taut montage to contrast the glamor of haute couture and Parisian high society with the violent passions simmering beneath the surface.
The 7:30pm screening will be introduced by art and fashion writer Michèle Gerber Klein. Her book, Portrait of An Unreasonable Man, a biography of the iconic and controversial designer Charles James, was published in 2018.