The street life of Paris in the 1920s provides an exceptionally vivid backdrop to this lyrical story of a love triangle between a street singer, his best friend, and the woman they both love. From the graceful opening pan across the (studio-recreated) rooftops of the title to the multiple variations of its memorable theme song, the enchantment of Clair’s first talkie has remained intact. Even the slight awkwardness of the semi-synchronized soundtrack, as scratchy as if played on a wind-up phonograph, complements its nostalgic, almost anachronistic visuals. That, plus Lazare Meerson’s elegantly spare sets, Armand Bernard’s jingly score, and the naïve but affecting performances, make for a miniaturist masterpiece.
Artist and filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt spent a lifetime capturing the world around him in an improvised, highly personal style. Among his most beautiful studies is this simple portrait of children swimming under the Brooklyn Bridge.