Monday, September 4, 2017

Weekend At Dunkirk

This 1964 French movie screened as part of the recent Alliance Francaise de Perth classic French Film Festival.  Having just seen the Dunkirk movie, and with a passion for French, I couldn't resist.

In fifty years movies have improved their pyrotechnics.  Apart from that I considered these movies fairly equal.

When I watched the trailer for Weekend at Dunkirk I was struck or rather concerned that the recent movie might have just been a remake.  Having now seen the movie I think that was just due to some salient features of the event (it seems wrong to call it a battle): troops moving through the streets, leaflet drops, abandoned equipment and troops massing on the beach.

But with that the similarities ended.  Whereas in the new movie the British troops seemed to be worried about what the folks would say back at home, in the French movie it was more about what they were going to do now that they had been defeated.  There were a lot more cameo/vignettes in the French movie covering different reactions to the situation.

This was one of my favourite, a chap called Pinot with his machine gun
played by Georges Géret (1924-1996) holding a Chatellerault M1924/29

The beautiful corpse of a neatly attired French girl 
perhaps is more horrific than all the bloodied soldiers in the movie...

Yes, this movie contained women!  But none of colour, so there is still something to complain about for those so inclined. There were a good few French colonial troops included in the crowd scenes.

Catherine Spaak as Jeanne and Jean-Paul Belmondo as Julien Maillat
Their relationship amplified the central tussle of the movie - stay or flee.

In one scene there is a chap carrying a souvenir back to England.  A crated rocking horse.  It doesn't make it.  James of the ANF sent me a link to the Dunkirk scene in the movie Atonement and that very much has a fairground element to the beach scene.  I'm guessing that Zuydcoote (the French title of the movie was Week-end a Zuydcoote) is a seaside resort or that Dunkirk is more than just a port.

In the beginning of the movie in response to the question "what will we do now", Julien answers "might as well enjoy a weekend at Dunkirk" (or words to that effect).  I certainly did.

In researching this post I came across this post which I felt was worth sharing:

Before Dunkirk there was Weekend at Dunkirk

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