The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (3)
| Fresh (2)
| Rotten (1)
Without ever making a big deal of it, Clément's film has a physical sparkle and a pervasive sensual undercurrent.
Grim period film of 19th century Paris that encompasses the human condition.
Maria Schell (sister of Maximillian) givs a touching performance in Rene Clement's screen version of Emile Zola's grim social-realist novel, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1956.
Gervaise(Maria Schell) has two children, a bad leg, but no husband, living with Lantier(Armand Mestral), the father of her children. That changes when he leaves her which she finds out when her children show up at her workplace, a laundry, where some of her co-workers display less than sympathy. Defending her family's honor, Gervaise wins a ten round fight with Virginie(Suzy Delair) by TKO. Two years later, she is now married to Coupeau(Francois Perier), a roofer, and they have a daughter together. Even with that, Gervaise dreams of opening a shop of her own...
"Gervaise" is a powerful and skillfully filmed movie, set amongst the working class of Paris in the 1860's(The Crimean War was in the past while Emperor Napoleon III is still in power) that attacks hypocrisy(notice the scene in the Louvre) concerning the role of women in society, advising them to to be patient in finding a husband, if they want one. This is a society where only the strong survive, and a single mistake could mean ruin, where Gervaise tries to take a different route by using her brains, even as she has been a mother since she was a teenager.
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