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Les Enfants du Paradis expérience-the magic of the big screen

The Highlight for me last night 🙂

During that gruelling semester,I received a very wonderful surprise in school email inbox. Here I have the saying on this film

It has been brought to my attention that one of the greatest films ever made (yes!) is screening at the National Museum of Singapore in December. It is Marcel Carne’s LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS – made in 1945 during the German occupation of France. I cannot recommend this film highly enough – it is about the theatre – and so much more – and featuring some of France’s finest actors of that time, including the great Jean Louis Barrault. You will never forget seeing this film – it may even change your perspective about acting.  

Of course – you can hire/download this and watch it on a small screen – but this does not do this masterpiece any justice. To experience the full impact of this film you need to see it on the big screen.

Of course I cannot resist that offer (aside from my much needed Singapore film society offer for free tickets). My country do show old films once in a while on the big screen. Plus I know that experience of watching on the big screen is amazing,having watched Bertloucci’s The Last Emperor on the big screen last May. Plus I heard about the restoration of that French classic,so of course I wanted to go there.

Plot-wise,it was a love triangle between a mime Baptiste (Played wonderfully by Jean-Louis Barrault) and Garache,a free-spirited socialite. Yup it sounds like your atypical Korean melodrama or even worse (for my case) Fleming’s Gone with The Wind which I loathe. Luckily it did not go for this route for me. (More will be talked on my tumblr blog)

It was pretty hard for me to stay up all night to watch this beauty,with an uncomfortable seat and an extremely warm air-con (I remember the last time I came,it was freakin’ cold). I feel slightly ashamed to go back and forth to the toilet and secretly binging snacks and water to keep me alert. I am not too happy with the projection though,it was seen as squashed and did not do justice to the restoration of that beautiful film. Yes I am ranting it out on the flaws of the screening,as I seen better screenings than this.

As I went back home,I realize that I could also have that big-screen experience at my own home. I am more comfortable in my slacks,binging on snacks that would add calories and enjoy the coolness. While my country do not have that culture like America that consistently showed films of old. My local library is more than enough to satisfy my cravings for great cinema with its varied amount of DVDS.  I could borrow all the Criterion DVDS I want,sit on my couch and enjoy it. If I am exhausted,there is always a pause button and there I go for my little breaks. In addition,there is no irritating people gossiping on the big-screen.

However it was worth it to see films on the big screen was the audience’s reactions whenever it was foreign expats or the locals (I am surprised there is a decent amount of locals coming along to see this film-my faith in Singaporeans being cinephiles is restored). We laughed at Fredrick’s exaggerated actions,I hear the ohhhhhs on Pierre-François discovering the ill-fated lovers and of course we got hurt by the parting of Baptisite and Garcahane. (I was ugly-sobbing on the inside when I see this ending). Even as I left that hall,that British Lady hold on to my shoulder and recalled on watching that film.It was brief but it made my night. As Lynch commented on why we watched films “You go to films for different reasons: just go, and then there are ones that get down and thrill your soul.” It was definitely the experience that everyone feel is universal.

I say,while it is nice to watch all old movies I want in my DVD player at the comfort of my own home. However it does not replicate that universal emotion the audience have together. I am not saying that you must sit on the big-screen all the time to enjoy it. It might be at your own home. I think enjoying films is everywhere….As I shall conclude with a quote

I didn’t grow up thinking of movies as film, or art, but as movies, something to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Sydney Pollack

No matter where I watch a film,I am enthralled by the magic of film. It’s a way of life. Like the film’s setup,we are just watching a performance of ourselves here.


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