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FRENCH CANCAN

Director: JEAN RENOIR

102 minutes| France-Italy| 1954| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


RE-RELEASE
EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

While his father, the master painter Auguste Renoir left us numerous legendary canvasses picturing the Parisian nightlife of the 1880s and 1890s, revered filmmaker Jean Renoir added immeasurably to the same cultural legacy with this splendid re-imagining of the birth-pangs of the naughtiest bloomer-flashing dance of them all. It’s the finest film of the later years of his career, marking a triumphant reunion with French screen legend Jean Gabin, who commands our attention as the ageing impresario who takes Montmartre laundress Françoise Arnoul and turns her into a dancehall star, falling for her affections along the way and hence igniting the jealousy of his belly-dancer lover Maria Felix. The classical simplicity with which events build to a whirligig finale remains a marvel, and when you’re not luxuriating in Michel Kelber’s palpably atmospheric colour cinematography (vibrantly captured in this new digital version), take a moment to spot Edith Piaf and a youthful Michel Piccoli. Forget John Huston and Baz Luhrmann, this is the real Moulin Rouge! (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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