Who knew I was a fan of French poetic realism?

October 1, 2009

Actually, who even knew French poetic realism existed? I harbor an affinity for Casablanca, and Pèpè le Moko might be even better than Casablanca. Last night we decided to do dinner and a movie, but we didn’t think we had any Moroccan-themed movies (actually, we were right). Inspired by the Frenchie music playing at the time, I suggested one of the French movies from the boxset I bought from Janus a while back (one of the best impulse purchases ever made). We settled on Pèpè le Moko, not caring what it was about, but it ended up fitting our theme perfectly. Set in the Casbah of Algiers, Pèpè is a jewel thief that “is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn.” (From the Criterion site, seriously, could I write a better line?)

It’s a love story, action-packed; it keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat waiting to see what turn the plot will take next. There’s empathy felt for the smooth-talking, womanizing main character; there’s beautiful set and costume design. It hearkens back to a different time, a 1950s feel. So it floored me today when I realized this movie was made in 1937. 1937?? I thought movies back then were simplistic, possibly even silent. This! This was very modern feel… well, for 1937 it was a modern feel. I guess Casablanca was a 40s movie, though, so not so far off.

End result of the night: wonderful meal, wonderful food, wonderful company. Lingering memories and photos.