Saturday, May 12, 2007


The Children of Paradise is my favorite movie and its ultimate truth has eluded me. Like a deeply layered painting or pearl, one reaches one texture or color to discover another lies beneath. I return to the Children of Paradise, year after year like cycles of the Moon, drawing water and wisdom from a poetic well.

"What is the true nature of love," The Children of Paradise, asks? Does poetic mime, Baptiste Debureau have the answer? Or the elusive, beauty, Garance? Can actor-artist Federick Lemaitre articulate love most succinctly or are there glimmers of dark truth in the knife of philosopher-criminal Lacenaire? I have watched this film from the viewpoint of each of these characters and finally reached my own conclusion as to which character embodies love itself.

The Children of Paradise was shot during the years of occupied France, and Nazi seconds acted next to members of the French Resistance. That this film ever came to exist is a testament to the human spirit and the courage of filmmaker, Marcel Carne.

The poem that I mostly directly correlate with Children of Paradise is, "A Thing of Beauty," by John Keats.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.


Annelisa said...

Wow, I must read more keats... I really like the flow of this!

I haven't seen Children of Paradise either... I think I'm going to start coming here to get some culture!! :-)

mystic rose said...

An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

.. love those last two lines. :)

princess, i would like you to check out the video playing on my page now..when you have the time.
you might like it. its a different kind of music than you are used to.

Princess Haiku said...

Annelisa, I am sure you will enjoy the movie and lucky you- getting to see it for the first time.

Mystic rose- I enjoyed the video on your space with Indian music; lovely.

Cergie said...

YES ! SOOoooOO beautiful old French movie

I have the chance to live near Paris and in November I went to the St Martin Canal where was l'Hotel du nord and photographied the bridge on which Arletty said to Jouvet
"Athmosphèèèère, atmosphèèère est ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphèèèère ?"
She had such a typical Parisian accent !

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

One of my all-time favorite movies. Nice to find it here.