gets a new look !
Under the sky of Paris, during a day, we see large and small events that occur in the lives of several people whose fates will interfere. A poor old lady, after searching in vain all day to feed her cats, receives unexpected reward of a mother who, thanks to her, found at night her daughter who had been lost since morning. A young girl, dreaming of love, refuses the advances of her childhood friend to be stabbed to death by a sadistic sculptor. The latter is shot by a policeman who accidentally injured a worker who was returning home after the successful conclusion of a strike. Rushed to hospital, the injured worker is saved through the first open-heart surgery performed by a young surgeon who has just flunked his intern exam.
Source : Wikipedia
This is a brilliant example of the kind of well-crafted Professional film that had those overgrown children at Cahiers du Cinema throwing their toys out of the pram and mounting a weak resistance via the New Wavelet that was shipping serious water within a decade.
Julien Duvivier left more craftsmanship on the cutting room floor than Godard managed to include in his total output and Sous Le Ciel finds him on top of his game in the kind of multi-strand story he gave us in his classic Un Carnet de bal. This time around he concentrates on a single day, dusk to dawn in Paris and moves deftly between a group of people who may or may not have cause to remember this one day. It's arguable that Duvivier and/or his writing collaborator ex-actor Rene Lefevre got the 'idea' from Norman Collins' novel "London Belongs To Me", which reached the screen in the late 1940s but the characters there had in common the rooming house in which they all lived and the action spanned several months but wherever the idea originated it's adaptation is masterful.
Color would have been detrimental to this story which takes in an industrial strike where one of the characters spends the day - his wedding anniversary - on the picket line, a training hospital where a student has no problem with practicalities but sucks at passing exams, a boat ride on the Seine ending in a quarrel between the two children concerned, a photo-shoot which allows for some spectacular shots through fountains plus three people wandering the city, one old spinster who hasn't got change of a match trying in vain to scare up some food for her home full of cats, one young girl just arrived from the provinces and perhaps most significant of all the young sculptor slowly becoming manic enough to plunge a knife into a stranger. Some of these lives will connect, some will just miss, some of the characters will have problems erasing this day from their memories, some will forget it in a moment, a month or a year, but we won't be amongst them.
Source : IMDb