ANTOINE AND ANTOINETTE
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
DIRECTED BY JACQUES BECKER
(1947) Pauvre mais beau, but c’est la vie for struggling pulp publishing house worker Roger Pigaut and his wife, the radiant Claire Mafféi, a department store photo booth operator, who runs a veritable book club with the rejects her husband brings home, as he dreams of a motorcycle and rope dances along the edge of their rooftop, with time out for l’amour avant le dîner. A real slice of life, where neighbors casually pop in through garret windows, Pigaut lines his shoes with newspaper cut-outs, insinuating greengrocer Noël Roquevert saves the best leeks for Mafféi, who sometimes blows a sou or two on a silly lottery ticket... but what if they won the big one? What if they lost the ticket? What if...? A triumph of the unsung Becker’s cinema style: discreetly moving camera, cuts on movement and action, and a steady if relentless pace that gave Becker a gift for pure narrative. The only film ever to be awarded the Cannes Festival’s Prix du meilleur film psychologique et d’amour — Best Psychological and Love Film! Approx. 89 min. DCP.
A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE
Click here to view Adrian Curry's Mubi feature on the posters of ANTOINE AND ANTOINETTE
"A DELIGHTFUL ROMANCE! PURE, PARIS-SET PLEASURE! Walks an evocative line between realism and fantasy, capturing the energetic effervescence of the City of Light and showing how it complements the unbreakable bond between our impassioned heroes."
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"Unforgettably paints a picture of France just after the Occupation!… i'll never say it enough: FOR ME, BECKER IS THE GREATEST FRENCH DIRECTOR OF THE 40S & 50S!"
– Bertrand Tavernier
"Becker laces this snappy, sentimental comic melodrama with streetwise details, from the stress and danger of factory work to the wiles of philandering housewives… Becker’s ecstatic, intimate closeups of the couple on a tender idyll burn away daily cares with the blinding heat of erotic passion."
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"BEGUILING! One of the first postwar French features to break free of the grim heritage of the Occupation and envision a new, youth-centered culture emerging from the ashes."
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times
"Bubbles with an optimistic portrait of a happily married young couple, and a lively gallery of supporting characters worthy of Preston Sturges farce… aided immeasurably by Becker's evocative location shooting and his zippy editing rhythms."
– Bill Weber, Slant
“ONE OF THE DIRECTOR’S MOST SATISFYING WORKS!”
– Roy Armes
“A SPARKLING FILM!”
– Senses of Cinema
“A swift, spontaneous depiction of la vie quotidienne, full of lovely Paris locations involving a myriad of subtly introduced and interwoven subsidiary characters. A film of great charm, zest and atmosphere, admirably served by its players and accompanied by Jean-Jacques Grünewald’s beguiling score.”
– John Gillet
“Finds Becker fast at work mastering another of his great talents, silence... It is the minimal score and the diligent use of orphaned piano notes that keep it from being cast into too whimsical a light. Becker haunts his scenes with spare beauty: watch Antoine in the lottery office, the slow, lonely dirge of a piano the only cue… To see Antoine seduce Antoinette with a simple wink is precious: Antoine beckons Antoinette to come beside him on the bed; she does; they kiss; the camera pans to the doorway, through which sits the bed; Antoine and Antoinette are superimposed on the bed, but sitting to dinner. Seduction, lovemaking and supper — all in a blink of an eye.”
– James Sepsey, Senses of Cinema
“ONE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES OF FRENCH REALISM! In Antoine et Antoinette, the film of his that I liked the most, Becker tenderly described the loves and the workers of the Paris faubourgs: the streets of the 18th arrondissement, at the time when poverty, the attic room, and the idyll of a young couple were still the rule, simple touches and real poetry, as well as precision and sensitivity in each touch. Becker’s meticulousness always made him hit the right note... This sensitive film was part of French ‘neorealism,’ a movement that never reached fruition.”
– Georges Sadoul