Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Random Film Review: Pépé Le Moko

Dir: Julien Duvivier | 1937 | France | 94min

In his spotless suits and spats, Pépé’s been hiding out in the dirty black and white Delacroix Casbah for two years now and he’s going a bit mad. It’s become his prison. He’s bored of his gypsy girlfriend, Inès, all bangles and shawls and a shimmering darkness. Personally, I’d never get bored of her. But Pépé misses Paris, and longs for a bit of white. Then Gisèle, or Gaby for short, comes along with her blonde hair and diamonds. She reminds Pépé of Paris. “I like you, you’re beautiful. You remind me of Paris.” And the Paris Metro. He likes her, at first for her diamonds (“The Christian girl, the one with the diamonds.”), then as a chance of escape, away from all the dirt and brothels, the women in their white robes and veils. The girls dance on the roof as Pépé sings one Sunday morning. He’s in love with Gaby. Inès still loves Pépé. “You are what you are,” she says gravely. He beats Inès up from time to time; he has no respect for her. If I had someone like her, I’d respect her. But then the grass is always greener.

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