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Archive for the ‘Michel Simon: ACTING GOD’ Category

The Two Of Us

18 Jun

The Two Of Us – directed by Claude Berri. Family Film. 87 minutes Black And White 1967.

★★★★★

The Story: In occupied Paris, a little Jewish boy endangers his family’s safety by his antics and must be farmed out to a rural family whose grandfather is virulently anti-semetic.

~

It’s hard to say anything more about this enchanting film. One doesn’t want to give away any of the events, for to preview any one of them would be to spoil the surprise of it.

One can say that the great Michel Simon, that beautiful actor and beautiful human and beautiful man won well deserved awards for this performance. It’s a flower in his buttonhole.

And the youngster is a grand master of impishness and cleverness. If you don’t love him, you don’t love anything, and you must stand in the corner until you do.

I would love to tell you how he was discovered, but that is the right of the director, who narrates it in the Extra Features. It is Berri’s first feature, and a little masterpiece.

I call it a family film, because it is about a family. Indeed it is about the real meaning of the word “family,” and let me know if you don’t think so.

It illustrates the truth of art that the cutting of a gem is entirely dependent on what is left out.

Enjoy yourself. See it in company. It’ll make a family of the whole bunch of you.

 

 

 

The Two Of Us

25 Jan

The Two Of Us (or The Old Man And The Boy) — directed by Claude Berri – Human Comedy. For everyone’s safety, a ten year old mischief-maker is fostered out by his parents. He finds himself in a farmhouse with a most peculiar old man, a mischief-maker himself. 87 minutes, black and white, 1967.

* * * * *

One of the greatest films ever made, Grandpa And The Boy, or The Two Of Us or Le viel homme et l’enfant, derives its greatness from one element only: its balance. You find this same quality in Jean Renoir’s great films, particularly The Rules Of The Game, and in perhaps every great film ever made. All sides are presented as fully as they can be under the circumstances of the material, and then acted to the full by both the old man and the youngster, and, although the director is fully and passionately engaged, no bias is suggested. The material in this case is one of the key relationships of life, which is the relation of a boy to a grandparent, in this case, a foster-grandfather. The story of how it came to be made, how the director found the little boy, Alain Cohen,  mischievously hiding behind the school curtains in the hall where he had been sent for misbehaving, and the relationship of him with Michel Simon, the old man is recounted in the Extras, which are a must, also. But what the director, Berri, caught, in this his first full length picture, is the priceless love and appreciation between a human being who is just entering life and a human being soon to leave it. The body of the film takes place in the French Countryside during WWII where the little boy has been sent for his safety. The peril of discovery fuels the tension, but the physical beauty of the ten year-old boy and the quite different physical beauty of the old man meld perfectly, and so do their personalities and vitality and hearts, and this is where our pleasure in the story really lies. Michel Simon, the old man, was one of the great actors ever to appear in film. If you have never seen him before, see him here. And let the whole family join in, too, for a real movie-going treat.

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