Manon

Screening on Film
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.
With Cécile Aubry, Michel Auclair, Serge Reggiani.
France, 1948, 35mm, black & white, 100 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Exalted by Ado Kyrou as one of the purest renditions of amour fou in the cinema, the rarely seen Manon is a dark, surrealist fever dream and among the greatest discoveries within Clouzot's oeuvre. Crowned by a kinetic scene of a cathedral torn apart by bombs, Manon is fascinating for its evocation of the destruction and aftermath of World War II and its vision of a traumatized and morally compromised postwar France. A boyish Serge Reggiani falls willing and masochistic victim to the double-edged charms of Manon, transformed by Cécile Aubry into the ultimate femme fatale, at turns a petulant angel and a cruel, avaricious succubus – yet bringing an awkward, childlike grace to her every act of treachery.

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