With “Beyond the gates” René Clément won the Oscar for best foreign film. This fascinating tragedy carried by Jean Gabin and Isa Miranda is to (re) discover in a new DVD and Blu-ray edition.
Gabin faced with fate in Beyond the gates
In 1946 René Clement won the first jury prize at the Cannes film festival and the international grand prize for staging for La Bataille du rail. That year, the director is actually associated with two other films in the competition. Beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau, as technical advisor, and The Quiet Father. It was from there that he attracted the attention of the Italian producer Alfredo Guarini who wanted him to realize Beyond the gates. He directs for this occasion Jean Gabin and Isa Miranda (wife of Guarini) in a town of Genoa marked by war.
Beyond the gates thus acts asquasi-documentary work. René Clément having always wanted to shoot outdoors, he finds himself totally in neo-realism and is often presented abroad as the French Rossellini. With this film, he takes full advantage natural settings and goes so far as to film his characters in the crowd on a hidden camera. From there he draws a tragic story. The story of a meeting between Pierre, wanted for the murder of his mistress, and Marta, an Italian waitress. There is also Cecchina (Vera Talchi), Marta’s daughter, sometimes affectionate for Pierre, sometimes jealous of her mother.
The strength of the film and of René Clément lies in his complex characters which evolve over the sequences, and in the suspense that the director manages to create. The precision of his plans is remarkable there as much as its direction of Jean Gabin. Finally, we can already note the presence of childhood in the face of the adult world, a recurring theme in his filmography.
An exciting reissue
Best Actress Award for Isa Miranda and best director for René Clément at Cannes Film Festival in 1949, and Oscar for best foreign film in 1951, Beyond the gates is to (re) discover on DVD and Blu-ray. M6 Video offers a new high quality edition froma new 4K restoration. Within this edition, there are four fascinating documentaries on the film and René Clément.
Denitza Bantcheva, biographer of René Clément, draws a relevant portrait of the director, deepened by a testimony from Costa-Gavras (who was Clément’s assistant). Jean-Claude Missiaen evokes for his part the relationship between the director and Jean Gabin. While Johanna Clément, widow of the director, offers a touching vision.