Le Jour Se Leve; Daybreak

973. LE JOUR SE LEVE (DAYBREAK) (1939-France). With JEAN GABIN. Directed by MARCEL CARNE, A sudden gunshotÑa man staggering out Of a room and falling to his death on the stairsÑhis killer sitting inside the dark, shabby room, barricaded against an army Of police and forced to relive in his mind the strange series Of events that led to his predicament. So begins a taut, suspenseful melodrama Of romance, jealÂousy and murder. During the long night in which the man (Jean Gabin) awaits his fate, he recalls his hopeless love for a confused young woman and his rivalry for her affections with an overbearing, vicious older man (so thoroughly the personification Of evil that he lies, cheats, abuses women and even tortures little dogs!), leading to that man’s violent demise. One Of many moody, fatalistic dramas that seemed to reflect France’s gloomy outlook on the eve Of World War II, this is an outstanding work by that country’s foremost director Of “poetic realism.” Carne fills his film with ominous camera angles, sharp contrasts Of light and dark, and imprisoning bars and shadows. You can almost feel the doom-laden, claustrophobic atmosphere, and the tension will keep you on the edge Of your seat. You will also understand what made Gabin so prominent at the time: a charismatic combination Of toughness and sensitivity, strength and vulnerability, he embodied the ordinary man trapÂped in a web Of tragic circumstances. This is one Of the finest examples Of what many still consider “The Golden Age Of French Cinema.” In French with English subtitles. 90 minutes. Suspense Drama