Alexandre Astruc – Le rideau cramoisi (1953)


Plot: A young second lieutenant in the hussars, garrisoned in the provinces, recalls a strange adventure. While staying with an old couple he meets Albertine, his hosts’ daughter, falls in love with her and, after wooing her assiduously, makes her his mistress. But then one night she dies in his arms… (link)

At the beginning of the 19th century a young officer newly promoted comes to live in the mansion of some dull and quiet bourgeois. One evening he sees a young and beautiful person who dines at the family’s table. It is Albertine his landlord’s daughter who has come back home after spending some time in a boarding school.

She shows nothing but indifference to him until one evening at dinner she grabs the officer’s hand and puts her foot on his boot. Albertine’s parents have noticed nothing so far. But while the days pass, she takes refuge in silence and arouses his desire.

It’s a version, sort of, of Alexandre Astruc’s Le Rideau Crimoisi or The Crimson Curtain. In a 44 minute film, shot without synchronous sound and in a style which drew on silent cinema. he used a voice over narration to tell a story of impossible love.

The Beautiful Anouk Aimée stars

It’s based on a mystery story by 19th century writer Jules-Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly’s. The magnificent photography was by Eugen Schüfftan

Astruc was one of the post war French film makers championed by the New Wave directors that followed. His films weren’t greatly successful at the box office, but were renowned for their style. His influence is probably greater as a critic

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