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Film / Children of Paradise

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Children of Paradise (French : Les Enfants du Paradis) is a French film from 1945, directed by Marcel Carné and written by poet Jacques Prévert. The story supposedly takes place in the 1820 in France, and revolves around the Théâtre des Funambules -a pantomime theater- and its comedians, as well as a woman named Garance. It is both a love story and a tribute to theater. The film itself is divided in two parts named era : the first era is Boulevard du crime and the second one is L'homme blanc.

The story follows the meeting between Garance, an independant and quick-witted woman, and Baptiste, who works as a mime at the Funambules. While they are quick to develop feelings for each other, several events, and a difference in mentalities, prevent them from being together. Several years later, Garance comes back, only to find a lot has changed during her time away. Every evening, though, she goes to the Funambules to see Baptiste play...


"Tropes are so simple":

  • Ambiguously Gay: Lacenaire. Averted in the script, where some interactions Lacenaire has hint quite overtly to his sexuality. The scenes were shot but cut from the movie, as it was shot during WW2 under Vichy and the film director wanted to avoid censorship.
  • Artistic License – History: Turkish baths didn't become popular in Europe until about 50 years after the era depicted in the film.
  • Betty and Veronica: Baptiste is Archie, Nathalie is Betty, and Garance is Veronica.
  • Cliffhanger: The first era ends with Lacenaire and Avril on the run, while Garance is falsely accused of a crime she didn't commit.
  • Caught in the Rain: Baptiste and Garance just after his confession.
  • Duel to the Death: Between Lemaître and the authors of the play. A drunken Lemaître is really in no condition to fight, and he loses, but just comes out of the ordeal with a minor injury.
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  • Epic Movie: Runs 3 hours and 10 minutes, with some of the most elaborate sets and costumes attempted in French cinema up to that point.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After he kills the Count, Lacenaire just casually waits for the police and the foregone conclusion that he'll be executed.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lacenaire is aloof, but still personable. But, the man is also a Sociopath who has no qualms about committing crimes.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Lacenaire steals a man's watch out of his front pocket.
  • Floral Theme Naming: when asked what she is called, Garance replies that "it is the name of a flower." It is however revealed that Garance is not her true name, her birth name being Claire. It is unkwown how she came to be called Garance.
  • I Have Many Names: Lacenaire is implied to have several aliases.
  • Longing Look: Baptiste and Garance exchange one when they first meet.
  • Love Dodecahedron: The main male characters are all in love with Garance (though the Ambiguously Gay Lacenaire views her more as a Platonic Life Partner), while Nathalie is in love with Baptiste.
  • Major Injury Underreaction Soft Glass: Baptiste gets thrown through a window but winds up just a little dusty.
  • No Ending: Baptiste pursues Garance in the Carnival crowd but loses her.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Lacenaire confronts the Count in a Turkish bath at the film's climax.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lemaître, but he ultimately does become an accomplished and successful actor.
  • Time Skip: Several years pass between the first and second era.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: In its original American release, it was promoted as the "French Gone with the Wind".
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Baptiste, Lemaître and Lacenaire were all genuine 19th century Parisian figures, but the film's story is purely fictional.
  • Wicked Cultured: Lacenaire is well-dressed, well-spoken, and works as a scribe as a front for his criminal activities.

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