Films A to Z

Avant le déluge

138 min.
Year of Production:
Frankreich / Italien
Marina Vlady
Jacques Fayet
Paul Bisciglia
Antoine Balpêtré
Bernard Blier
Jacques Chabassol
Clément Thierry
Roger Coggio
Jacques Castelot
Léonce Corne
Paul Frankeur
Isa Miranda
Carlo Ninchi
Line Noro
Marcel Pérès
Albert Rémy
Delia Scalia
André Valmy
Julien Verdier
Maria Emma Zanoli
Production Company:
UGC (Frankreich), Documento Film (Italien)
Berlinale Section:
Berlinale Category:
Feature Film

After studying the intricacies of justice in JUSTICE EST FAITE -  JUSTICE IS DONE (France 1950) and capital punishment in NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES ASSASSINS / SIAMO TUTTI ASSASSINI - WE ARE ALL MURDERERS (France/Italy 1952), André Cayatte, ex-lawyer, now turns his searching camera on adolescent delinquency and parental responsibility. Result is a jolting social yarn which covers too much territory and has a tendency to preach to the detriment of the drama. It forces its hand in fitting everything into its legal, pamphlet-like plea. It will do well on word-of-mouth here. For the U.S., this would be need special handling for arty situations, but doesn’t shape big because of its downbeat theme. The banding together of five adolescents, who decide to flee Paris to a safe desert isle after being driven to panic over fear of a new war (this is in 1950) and lack of love and comfort from their selfish parents. They find they need money to get away and decide to rob lover of one boy’s mother. But a night policeman comes along, and he is accidentally shot and killed. Two of the boys in terror slay the young Jewish boy who they think will talk. Another boy confesses after a suicide attempt, and they are put on trial. Film uses a flashback technique at the trial as the bereft parents all question themselves, and begin to realize their guilt. Cayatte has held this literary-type film together and generated many scenes of intense feeling. Lensing and editing is top in keeping this complicated story always intelligible. Marina Vlady lends a lovely face as the girl in the gang. Youths are all well played, with Roger Coggio as the young Jewish boy a standout. Jacques Fayet, Clément Thierry and Jacques Chabassol all do well. Adults are also finely played with Bernard Blier moving and bewildered as the father of a daughter he no longer understands. Much of the excess haranguing, such as the professor’s countless arguments with his son on Communism, possibly can be sheared away to make this more palatable for special U.S. situations. (Mosk. (Gene Moskowitz) in: Variety (Hollywood), 7.4.1954.) 

FILMOGRAFIE André Cayatte (selection)

1953/54 Avant le déluge 

Report - Festival de Cannes (1954)

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