"Marius" takes place in Marseilles' Old Port, at the La Marine Bar, owned by César and his son Marius. Marius' biggest dream is to embark on one of the boats passing by his dad's bar and to...
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"Marius" takes place in Marseilles' Old Port, at the La Marine Bar, owned by César and his son Marius. Marius' biggest dream is to embark on one of the boats passing by his dad's bar and to set off to a faraway land. Fanny, a young and pretty seafood peddler, has secretly been in love with Marius since her childhood; Marius, never admitting it, has always loved Fanny. One day, a sailor drops by La Marine and offers him a job on an exploratory ship. Trying to hold him off and to make him jealous, Fanny confesses his love to him and provokes a fight between Marius and one of César's old friends, Panisse, a boat merchant, who despite his old age, has been courting Fanny for a while. Torn between the call of the sea and his love for her, Marius abandons his dream to be with Fanny who gives herself to him. As César and Honorine, Fanny's mother, are getting ready for the wedding, Marius changes his mind, drawn back to the call of the sea. Sacrificing her love, Fanny convinces Marius to ...
There is no point in comparing it to the Raimu film
I've watched this movie twice now. It's really a very good film - but it is not at all the film with Raimu and Pierre Fresnay.
Nor, I suspect, was Auteuil trying to replicate the earlier version. In the 1930s masterpiece, directed by Alexander Korda, the characters, though all very real, often border on caricature, at least the men. They are all very much bigger than life, starting with César, and including Panisse, Escartefigure, etc.
That's not the take Auteuil took here. His characters aren't exaggerated, though certainly very real. You see that especially in some of the famous set pieces, like the card game and the scene where César teaches Marcel how to make a mandarin-citron. The exaggeration that made those scenes so outlandish, and so funny, in the Korda movie is absent here here. The scenes are played in a much more realistic manner.
Sometimes that's a problem. Escartefigue really doesn't work as a normal human being. He just comes off as dull, nothing like the unforgettable masterpiece in the Korda film.
But for the others - César, Panisse, and Marius - this approach shows us Pagnol's plays in a different light, and certainly a valid one. You have to pay more attention to see what's going on, to appreciate the fine acting. But it's worth the effort.
This movie will certainly never replace the Korda film. But it offers another way of presenting these by now mythic characters, and for that I say thank you.
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