Jacques Becker made a series of stunning films during his career. He skirted the most difficult upheaval of Europe during world war 2 but was imprisoned for a time, which under pinned a lot of his cinema. For the many who know him, they know his style and the artistry that under pins his best work. His best films are LE TROU, which is a stand out of prison cinema, due to its power of personal strength. The second is CASQUE D’OR, a love story and a more delicate commentary on the power of (and damage by) love. An earlier film of his, FALBALAS has facets of both in its core but mediates a classic doomed love story.

Philippe Clarence (Raymond Rouleau ) is suave, playful, charming and a Parisian fashion designer with a taste for women and the finery of life. He lives very swiftly, from bar to bar, cafe to cafe and then girl to girl. When he meets his best friend Daniel Rousseau (Jean Chevrier), at his new place, he is again looking to celebrate life. That is until he meets Micheline (Micheline Presle), Daniel fiancée. He finally falls in love. Now he will never be the man he was before. Micheline rejects his proposal and Philippe finds himself on a collision course with his heart and his head. His friends and his life after his falling into the nightmare of unrelenting love.

FALBALAS is that expected thing. A story that has the eventual final sum, we in the classical literature reading field, have spent at least a small time consuming. These classical doomed love stories need depth and width. Becker is patient in his direction of FALBALAS. The story needs air to breathe. This is the beauty of the film. Its long, builds with a subtle intensity and allows the cast to act with balance. No over dramatic close ups. No sweeping tracking shots. Patient intent. If you saw LE TROU, much of the middle of the film, is like the best scenes that slowly build. We find via gestures. Via words. Via frame. Via pace. Via tone. Classic portions, served with a little extra condiments but not diluting the main.


The new version (labelled Restored) is a reshaped affair. This is to say it is the same but with slight, subtle changes. It looks like a studio film from the American archives, leaving the viewer with enough to benefit a re watch.

The extras are another thing. I think, if you like costume design, invest in the film. However if you like to hear and see a multitude of content, then you will miss out here.


Falbalas, a family affair
Fashion and clothing, Jean Paul Gaultier
Interview – Micheline Presle
Falbalas, restored version


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