[Marxism] Children of Paradise and the Redemptive Power of Art » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 20 11:58:10 MDT 2014

Marcel Carné's Masterpiece
Children of Paradise and the Redemptive Power of Art

Recently Jeffrey St. Clair polled a group of CounterPunch contributors 
on what they considered to be the greatest 100 films ever made (coming 
soon). My list omitted “Children of Paradise”, a 1945 French film that 
was sitting on my shelf for a couple of months incarnated as two Netflix 
DVD’s (the film runs for 195 minutes). Let me make amends for that now 
after having seen it for the first time—where have I been all these 
years? Although I didn’t rate my top 100 in order of greatness, Marcel 
Carné’s masterpiece, about which Francois Truffaut once said “I would 
give up all my films to have directed Children of Paradise”, would 
certainly be among the top ten.

When you enter the world of “Children of Paradise” that is set in the 
1830s, you recognize immediately an air of artifice that begins with the 
opening scene, an image of a curtain that upon lifting reveals hundreds 
of Parisians milling about a street filled with acrobats, clowns, 
magicians, jugglers and other artists performing in the open air. The 
street was known as the Boulevard of Crime, not so much for assaults on 
the citizens who flocked there but for the theaters that specialized in 


More information about the Marxism mailing list