Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gervaise (René Clément, 1956)

***½
France

René Clément goes to great lengths to preserve the period detail in this adaptation of an Emile Zola soap opera of (what else?) working-class degradation. As an evocation of mid-19th-century Parisian slums it's impressive and always atmospheric. But it suffers from the awkward pacing that typically haunts slavish literary adaptations where faithfulness to the plot is prized above the development of human-like characters.

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