Cesar (1936)

Cesar (1936)

“Sure, they had devoted fathers — but I don’t think any could compare to mine.”

Synopsis:
When his adoptive father (Fernand Charpin) dies, grown Cesar (Andre Fouche) learns from his mother (Orane Demazis) that his biological father (Pierre Fresnay) — son of his godfather (Raimu) — was a sailor who may still be alive, and sets out to meet him.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Death and Dying
  • Father and Child
  • French Films
  • Grown Children

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “Marcel Pagnol directed as well as wrote the final chapter of his Marseilles Trilogy,” which takes “place about 17 years after Fanny (1932)” and presents “a lovely, deeply moving film with the usual rich characterizations and passionate performances.”

He notes that “highlights include Cesar’s discourse on Death and God, all scenes in which one character reveals love for another (which happens throughout the trilogy), and when Panisse’s friends gather around his deathbed.”

He concludes his review by writing that this “fine example of Pagnol’s ‘human’ cinema” can “be enjoyed without having seen Marius or Fanny” — though I actually find it to be the least satisfying of the three, primarily given the dull character played by Fouche:

… and the silly miscommunication that ensues when he sets off to find Fresnay. Even the humor among the elderly townsfolk feels less fresh this time around, especially with Charpin gone:

However, fans of the series will of course find this film indispensable, simply in order to learn what happens to the characters.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Atmospheric sets and cinematography

Must See?
No, though fans of the trilogy will naturally be eager to check it out.

Links:

One thought on “Cesar (1936)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Of the three parts of this trilogy, I probably ‘enjoyed’ the middle section (‘Fanny’) most – but that’s still not a recommendation. As for this finale… I find it to be just as rambling as Part One.

    In some ways, I even find it to be totally unnecessary – but the writer somehow felt the need to d-r-a-g things out so that all could ultimately end well. In doing so, however, the audience is subjected to quite a bit of material that’s repetitive; we hear info that we’re already well aware of. That may prove beneficial for a character like the son Cesariot – but it’s tedious for the rest of us.

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