Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Baker’s Wife (La Femme du Boulanger)

Aimable: How can I bake if my leaven's gone?

Considered a classic of French cinema, The Baker’s Wife relates what happens in a small French village when the much younger wife (Leclerc) of the town’s new baker (Raimu) decides that she can no longer abide her existence and runs away with a local shepherd. Shattered at his wife’s betrayal, the baker loses all desire to bake; and horrified by the prospect of doing without bread for weeks or months or even longer, the alarmed villagers put aside their petty conflicts in order to seek out and convince the young woman to return to her husband.
For a movie that centers around bread and baking, The Baker’s Wife actually shows little in the way of food, but it does have one memorable meal: the dinner that the baker serves to his wife upon her return consists of chicken, fruit, and a special loaf of bread shaped like a Cupid’s heart.

Released 1938
Written and directed by Marcel Pagnol; based on the novel by Jean Giono
Starring Raimu as Aimable Castanier (the baker), Ginette Leclerc as Aurélie Castanier (the baker’s wife), Fernand Charpin as Le marquis Castan de Venelles, Robert Vattier as the priest, Charles Blavette as Antonin, Robert Bassac as the teacher, Marcel Maupi as Barnabé, and Charles Moulin as the shepherd Dominique
Awards: 1940 NBR Award for Best Foreign Film; 1940 NYFCC Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Fun Fact:
Marcel Pagnol originally envisioned the role of the baker’s wife for Joan Crawford, but she declined because she could not speak French, even though the character speaks only a few lines throughout the entire movie.

1 comment:

sammy said...

I came across this site and was inspired to watch this movie. It was perfect and a real classic.