Au bonheur des dames

1930 [FRENCH]

Drama / Romance

Plot summary

October 30, 2022 at 02:58 AM


Julien Duvivier

Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
869.9 MB
No linguistic content 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S ...
1.58 GB
No linguistic content 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by hideouslizardman 10 / 10

Brilliant Filmmaking!

Only a handful of film directors have fully exploited the medium to its utmost effect. After seeing this film I must include Julien Duvivier along with Hitchcock, Eisenstein, etc. as a master of the art. Duvivier doesn't just show you the mad rush of crowds of people but through his use of camera movement makes you feel that you too have been swept up in the rush. I have to admit that a large part of the film's impact comes through the new score by Gabriel Thibaudeau which helps express the inner feelings of the characters. The combination of the score and editing in the shopkeeper's crackup sequence is so intense that I felt I was going mad myself. Clearly, Duvivier was familiar with Eisenstein's work and theories. The ending was a disappointment. The entire film makes you feel for the little guy but in the end the film makes an about face and seems to say that progress is good no matter what the cost. Perhaps this ending was demanded by the film's financial backers. Nevertheless, the shortcomings of the story only slightly weaken the impact of this powerful work of art.

Reviewed by zetes 8 / 10


The final silent film from Duvivier (of Pepe le Moko fame) is an adaptation of an Emile Zola novel starring Dita Parlo (of L'Atalante and The Grand Illusion fame). I didn't even know Parlo made any other films! She's wonderful. She plays an orphan girl who shows up to Paris to live with and work for her uncle. Unfortunately, she finds him and his tailor shop destitute, failing under the encroaching department store across the street, Au bonheur des dames (translated as "Ladies' Paradise"). She's only too happy to get a job at the fabulous store, where she attracts the attention of several different men (and the jealousies of some of her female co-workers). Meanwhile, her family across the street is going to Hell. The visuals and direction are very good, as are the performances.

Reviewed by gorbman 8 / 10

Important and beautiful Impressionist silent film

Duvivier's AU BONHEUR DES DAMES is a gorgeous surprise, since along with SUNRISE, METROPOLIS, and a few other of the masterpieces of the period, it taps into so many key movements and concerns of the 1920s. It's a faithful adaptation of Zola's novel by the same name, part of his sweeping "Rougon-Macquart" series that casts a panoramic look on 19th century French society. The story, banally put, is a proto- "You've Got Mail." But instead of the giant bookseller edging out the human-scale bookstore in the neighborhood, it's a small fabric merchant vs. the huge department store. (The department store was a new phenomenon in the mid-to-late 19th century.) Like SUNRISE, this movie shows the seduction of the fast pace of the modern city, mass consumption and revolution of our desires--and the insults that modernity hurls at older ways of thinking about community and "values" such as honesty, family, and propriety.

AU BONHEUR is now available on DVD, with a very good musical score. It is an exquisite example of what silent-era cinematic "Impressionism" was all about--including fantastic experiments with conveying sound, emotion, speed, and confusion through images and their editing. In sum, this is an important film and a beautiful one. Wacky ending, but let's not spoil it... With not only Dita Parlo (cf. Vigo's L'ATALANTE and Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION), but Nadia Sbirskaya (Renoir's CRIME OF M. LANGE).

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1 Comment

Segfault profile
Segfault October 30, 2022 at 02:57 am

Sounds familiar, I read a book by Zola once, seems it is made after it.