Monsieur Vincent

2359. MONSIEUR VINCENT (1947-France). With PIERRE FRESNAY. Directed by MAURICE CLOCHE. Co-scripted by JEAN ANOUILH. This deeply intense and lovingly humane film features popular French stage and screen star Pierre Fresney in a tour-de-force performance as Vincent de Paul, an unpretentious cleric who originated the concept of social work in France. He eventually was honored with sainthood for his lifetime of praiseworthy deeds. In his early years Vincent had been captured by pirates and forced into slavery. Upon winning his freedom he became a cleric so that he may “help those poorer than myself.” The combination of his own innate morality and the horrors he had seen and experienced as a slave led him to take up social work. The scenario features no plot. Rather, It details VincentÕs assorted experiences with wealthy and humble alike. At the outset he arrives in a small village where he confronts some citizens who think their home has become “cursed” by a plague and others who claim they no longer believe in God. Fresnay earned an acting prize at the Venice Film Festival for his masterful performance. The film is among the top credits of its director, Maurice Cloche; it also went on to win the French cineÂma’s Grand Prix as the best film of 1947. At a time when Academy Awards were not yet handed out for Best Foreign Film, this earned a special Oscar “voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948.” Dubbed in English. 108 minutes. Historical Drama