La Traversée de Paris

Four Bags Full

Claude Autant-LaraFrance80 minutes1956PGB&WFrench

Aug 15
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Recently restored, this long unavailable classic amply attests to the talents of the perpetually underrated Claude Autant-Lara, who was repeatedly demonized by the New Wave; even the tart-tongued Truffaut had to admit that La Traversée de Paris was "a complete success — [with] the best dialogue that's been heard for a long time in French film." The veteran actor Bourvil earned the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in Autant-Lara's comedy thriller set in Occupation-era Paris, playing a taxi driver who transports precious black-market pork across the city under the noses of the Nazis. The quaking meat dealer recruits a talky stranger he meets in a bar (Jean Gabin, predictably exceeding Bourvil in the charm department) to help him, and the pair's attempts to elude both the Germans and the French police provide escalating hilarity. "A high point of the French cinema of the 1950s! One of the few films about the Occupation that seems to ring true" (Richard Roud).