Final Day! Thursday, May 30

A PIG ACROSS PARIS

("LA TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS")

  • 1:20
  • 3:00
  • 4:40
  • 6:20
  • 8:00
  • 9:40

$7 Member   $12.50 Regular

Directed by CLAUDE AUTANT-LARA

Starring  JEAN GABIN & BOURVIL

NEW RESTORATION

A PIG ACROSS PARIS

(1956) In a cold, hungrily-rationed, blacked-out City of Lights under the Occupation (an experience only a decade past for the contemporary audience), a transaction involving worth-its-weight-in-gold black market pork from crabby, penny-pinching Montmartre butcher Louis de Funès (soon to be France’s long-time top box office draw) is carried out like a modern-day drug deal. But straight arrow ex-cabbie/black-marketeer Bourvil (winner, Best Actor at Venice; legendary in France for his gormless comic persona, known here for his change-of-pace role in Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge) can’t possibly manage the four-bags-full trek across nocturnal Paris himself, so he recruits meat-mooching, garrulous stranger-he-met-in-a-bar Jean Gabin — an adventurer who keeps getting them into, and then hilariously talking them out of, trouble with both the Germans and French police, as Bourvil’s nervous sweat pools in the gutter. But there’s a chilling, class-laden final twist.

Beloved in France as one of the country's greatest classics, and championed by directors like Bertrand Tavernier and François Truffaut (see excerpts from their reviews below), A Pig Across Paris had a tiny release here in the 1950s before disappearing completely. Screenplay by the team of Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost (Forbidden Games), who, like director Autant-Lara, were favorite whipping boys of the up-and-coming New Wave – who conceded that this was a masterpiece. This new restoration features an all-new translation and subtitles by Lenny Borger. Approx. 80 min. DCP.

A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

A PIG ACROSS PARIS

For more poster images from around the world, Click here to read Adrian Curry's excellent Mubi article on Pig Across Paris movie posters

LISTEN TO 1950 ADAPTATION OF  "CROSSING PARIS" ON RADIO SHOW "ESCAPE" [mp3]

LISTEN TO 1957 RADIO ADAPTATION (USING BASICALLY THE SAME SCRIPT AS ABOVE) ON "SUSPENSE" [mp3]

Both are faithful adaptations of Marcel Aymé's original story "La Traversée de Paris," basis for A Pig Across Paris, but without the comedy elements added to the story by screenwriters Aurenche and Bost.

REVIEWS

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“THE MOST EXHILARATING KIND OF CRAZY COMEDY! A semi-forgotten gem... the comedian known as Bourvil plays a prim black-market pork dealer who joins forces with Jean Gabin as a fast-talking con artist in German-occupied Paris.
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine

****! [4 stars]
“RIOTOUS! The setup is for a classic farce.. [but] the director casts an unsparing, mirth-quashing eye upon Gestapo-ruled Paris, a desperate place populated by opportunistic merchants, shifty black-marketeers and the ration-starved unemployed. Such tonal ambiguity extends to the film’s look, with its disquieting, noirish black and white clashing with painted backdrop fabrications, as well as to Gabin’s misanthropic charisma.”

– Eric Hynes, Time Out New York

"A LOST GEM! Plays the German occupation for slapstick comedy! The odd couple Gabin and Bourvil inevitably wind up in the hands of the Gestapo… and the repartee is often hilarious."
– J. Hoberman, Artinfo
Click here to read the full review

"A BLAST! Crafted by a murderers' row of classic French cinema heavy hitters - Gabin and Bourvil, and screenwriters Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost. The stars lock into a splenetic pas de deux… Gabin was rarely this energetic, especially at this age."
– Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

“One of the most realistic, most caustic, most pitch-perfect films about daily life under the Occupation. In every scene, you feel all the biting anarchistic rage of Autant-Lara –tempered here by humanism and the ironic tenderness of screenwriters Aurenche and Bost.”
– Bertrand Tavernier (2013)
Click here to read the full essay

"A NOIR COMEDY... Probably the darkest, least boastful portrait of French people since Clouzot’s Le Corbeau. Autant-Lara shoots most of it in harsh b&w, almost neorealist for daytime but primarily in shadowy nighttime. Instead of Resistance Era chic, [the] perspective is defined by Gabin’s “Spinelesness must be in fashion.” Bourvil’s clerk-like sensibility contrasts Gabin’s bumptious virility. It is Gabin, of course, who as the painter Grandjil carries the brotherhood tradition of Renoir’s La Grande Illusion."
– Armond White, CityArts
Click here to read the full review

"One of the few French films of the 1950s to take a hard look at the Occupation. The New Wave critics usually expressed disdain for carefully devised (and in this case precisely written by Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost) products of “the French tradition of quality” like this, but even the combative François Truffaut placed La Traversée de Paris among the best films of its year, alongside Bresson’s Man Escaped and Renoir’s Elena and Her Men."
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times

"Prominently set during the German occupation of Paris, Claude Autant-Lara's A Pig Across Paris is a comedic assault on the anxieties that darkened the City of Lights during WWII… an exaggerated epic of traditional buddy-comedy trappings wrapped in a picaresque farce.. Autant-Lara [uses] sharp humor to alleviate the disparity and exasperation plaguing Paris."
– Nick McCarthy, Slant
Click here to read the full review

“BEST FILM OF THE YEAR!”
– French Film Critics Awards, 1956

“A HIGH POINT OF THE FRENCH CINEMA OF THE 1950s! One of the few films about the Occupation that seems to ring true... Even the young Truffaut, who had systematically attacked Autant-Lara as the symbol of all that was wrong with the French cinema, recognized that in this film the director had at least ‘found the subject of his life, a script that really suited him.’”
– Richard Roud

“EXPLOSIVELY FUNNY! Bourvil was selected best actor at Venice, but the star of the film is Gabin, lusty and powerful as the man who enjoys life so much he can play games with it. In the middle of sordid little perils, the artist devises quick-witted solutions, and then howls with delight, ‘This pig’s making a genius of me!’ The contrast between him and the terrified, sweating fellow at his side makes you know you’re watching a fable, but Autant-Lara shows class — he doesn’t tie it with a ribbon and hand it to you.”
– Pauline Kael

“A complete success – [with] the best dialogue that’s been heard for a long time in a French film… Don’t laugh too loudly when you see it, or else your neighbor won’t hear the dialogue.”
– François Truffaut