|Dita Parlo- not pictured in L'Atalante|
d. Jean Vigo
In The Complete Jean Vigo: Criterion Collection #578
I dunno I guess this Jean Vigo is like a lost genius of pre-war French Cinema, but man pre-war French Cinema is some obscure shit. L'Atalante was the only full length feature of Vigo's brief career (untimely death while still a young filmmaker.) Obscurity aside, it is a remarkable film in light of the fact that he made it in the 1930s. L'Atalante remains entertaining 75 years later.
Vigo can be seen as of the early film makers to bring a self consciously artistic style to the mechanics of film making. Often called "poetic realism" Vigo is both poetic and realistic in advance of his contemporaries in 30's film making, French or otherwise. L'Atalante is the story of a young couple, a steam ship captain Jean, played by Jean Daste and his young wife from the countryside, Dita Parlo.
The steam ship has a salty first mate (Michel Simon in a memorable performance) and the story evolves via the arrival of a flirty Showman who makes eyes at his wife. They fight, she leaves, they get back together. It is low key but artfully done.