Friday, November 4, 2016

Le Corbeau = The Raven

I found this film whilst looking for horror movies to watch for Halloween. Le is corbeau is actually a thriller/mystery rather than horror, but I decided I preferred this to traditional horror.

The movie is in French and has not been dubbed. It was filmed in France under Nazi occupation and released in 1943. I purposely did not read the film description before watching. I think that sometimes the advertising gives too much away, and I want to watch the story unfold without preconceived notions whenever possible. I did not realize the exact time period while watching the film, but could guess that it was in the 1930s or 1940s.

Le corbeau is part of the Criterion Collection. The only technical problem with the film was the soundtrack. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I think - and this is truly my opinion not fact, that 
they did ot have the resources to clean up the sound in a studio. Other than that the film was beautifully restored. It was filmed shortly after the Germans occupied France by a German film company. After the war is was banned in France, until 1947.

The story is about people in a small town who start receiving letters from Le corbeau. The handwriting is distinct and in all capital letters. The missives accuse the recipients of various misdeeds, some real and some imagined, and threatens to expose these transgressions to the rest of the town.

Of course no one wants their misdeeds exposed, so a search is on for Le corbeau. There are of course many suspects to choose from. Is it the nurse who disapproves of her sister's friendship with the handsome young doctor? Perhaps the sister of the grade school headmaster, or even the headmaster himself? What about that man in the post office who bought all those stamps? Then there is the handsome young doctor, or the daughter of the school headmaster. 

Under Nazi occupation, people were encouraged to report those unsympathetic to the German occupiers. I believe the film plays on the fears that people would have in such oppressive circumstances. Could you trust your neighbors, or even your own family?

I really enjoyed this film,, I thought the pacing was good, and the story well written. I can also find unfortunate parallels in today's current political climate that make me uncomfortable and frightened. 

No comments: