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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

MARCEL PAGNOL’S MARSEILLE TRILOGY

Through Thursday, January 12

Playwright Marcel Pagnol, decisively moving from stage to screen at the advent of sound, became immediately one of the most distinctive voices in French cinema, bringing the authentic warmth, sound, and atmosphere of the Midi to the screen, transcending the accusation of “canned theater” with his all-location filming, eventually becoming the first man of the cinema elected to the French Academy. The translation of his trilogy from stage to screen, moving in the process from scripter to his own director made his work world-famous (if belatedly in the US—censorship kept it from distribution here for a decade). But his magnificent stock company can be considered perhaps equal collaborators, headed by the monstre sacré Raimu, (named in his time the greatest actor of them all by Arletty, Marlene Dietrich, Zero Mostel, and Orson Welles) as César; Orane Demazis as Fanny; Pierre Fresnay (Grand Illusion) as Marius; and Charpin as Panisse. Spend six hours in Provence for “truth to life and boundless humanity” (Time Out).

NEW 4K RESTORATIONS 

Read Michael Sragow’s Film Comment essay on the Marseille Trilogy, Pagnol’s “dance of death and life,” here

NOTE THAT THE SHOWTIMES FOR PAGNOL’S MARSEILLE TRILOGY IN OUR QUARTERLY REPERTORY CALENDAR HAVE BEEN REVISED. PLEASE REFER TO SHOWTIMES LISTED BELOW. TO DOWNLOAD PDF OF REVISED SHOWTIMES, CLICK HERE.

THE LIST OF REVISED SHOWTIMES IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT THE BOX OFFICE.
MARSEILLE TRILOGY MARATHON
All three films screened consecutively (separate admissions)
 
WED, JAN 11
MARIUS 12:50
FANNY 3:20
CÉSAR 5:50
THU, JAN 12
MARIUS 3:10
FANNY 5:40
CÉSAR 8:10

Reviews

“[PAGNOL’S] DANCE OF DEATH AND LIFE. A marvelous old-school carousel. What makes this tragicomic merry-go-round so intoxicating is not its speed or pace (slow and steady), but the beauty of its weather-streaked, hand-carved figures as they chug up and down and come full circle… Pagnol’s greatest contribution to movies is his breakthrough method of casting actors who intuitively understood the subject matter, fostering their extreme identification with the characters, then building his films not merely on his written words but also on their silent behavior. Laughter erupts and tears spill from the steady accretion of details as the performers make these roles their own.”
– Michael Sragow, Film Comment 

“THREE JOYOUS FRENCH COMEDIES!  A REFRESHING — AND HOPEFUL  — WAY TO KICK OFF THE NEW YEAR!”
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“Gentle, humane, embracing a full range from slapstick to tragedy, Marcel Pagnol’s trilogy about the people of the Marseille waterfront has bewitched audiences for decades.” 
– Farran Smith Nehme, Village Voice

“A CLASSIC OF POETIC FRENCH CINEMA… OFTEN REMADE AND REMADE, BUT NEVER EQUALED.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“[A] GREAT TRILOGY. Any lover of French cinema must reckon with director Marcel Pagnol.”
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine 

“EPOCH-MAKING! A CINEMA THAT TAKES ITS TIME, THAT BREATHES! Pagnol demonstrated a way to transform French theater into French film, with quasi-naturalistic language and sound and the occasional excursion into real locations. More than two decades before the auteur theory took hold, Pagnol established the possibility of being considered a film author, despite (or perhaps because of) his relying on others to direct…. A whole world of tacit understanding underlies the characters’ verbal outpourings, which crash and sputter into the air all but smelling like the port of Marseilles... The pace of the ‘Fanny’ trilogy is leisurely, and leisure is one of the film’s gifts…”
– Stuart Klawans, The New York Times

“This ex-school teacher wrote with feeling, sly observation and great good humor.”
– David Shipman

“Savour the finely drawn character studies, the triumphant acting, the warmth, humanity, and tightly-reined sentimentality of Pagnol’s whole outlook.”
– Geoff Brown, Time Out (London)

Films in this Series

Wednesday, January 11  12:50   8:30
Thursday, January 12  3:10

Wednesday, January 11   3:20
Thursday, January 12   5:40

Tuesday, January 10  12:30   3:10   5:50   8:30
Wednesday, January 11  5:50
Thursday, January 12  12:30   8:10