Le Jour Se Lève or Daybreak was in the top 10 movies of first sight and sound poll. French films stoke my curiosity in general. So i had a certain bit of expectation with this one as well.

daybreak

François (Jean Gabin) is a foundry shop worker who gets romantically involved with Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent) when the latter visits with flowers for some reason to the foundry shop. Foundry shop looks quite menacing, the labor and the amount of effort which goes on there. So when Francoise comes it was like a breath of fresh air. I liked it when the Francoise mentions that she looks like a tree with flowers. It was an apt description. If in black and white she could look so gorgeous how would she have looked in color.

It’s a confusing film, to be more precious the characters are unsettling and that’s why it makes it a psychological film too. But it does allow us to be curious of what to happen. We are pushed in the midst of confusion too but without our knowledge. We don’t know which one is honest and who is behaving weird.

When I watched the opening scene of the movie little did I think about the drama. I thought it would be noir but it was anything but noir. Francois falls in love with Francoise but lives with Clara (Arletty) who is the mistress of M. Valentin (Jules Berry) who in turn goes out with Francoise. We don’t know who is whose partner. It’s not even bohemian. Everyone is jealous of their partner going to other but tells it in different way.

Valentin lies that Francoise is her daughter, Clara says that Valentin is an animal, Valentin repeatedly asks Francois not to get jealous thus making him jealous, Francois lives with Clara giving her sympathy and trying to protect her from Valentin. Out of all Francois is the one who is most normal and gets into the problem of killing Valentin. But why he goes to the extreme step of killing a person is rather bleak.

But French always have a distinct style whether it works for you or not. It’s poetic realism here. I couldn’t become a fan of it as it lacked both the poetic and realistic aspect. The opening shot also mislead to something different.

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