The Marseille Trilogy: César

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France | 1936 | 141 minutes | Marcel Pagnol

The final part of Pagnol’s intimate family saga takes place 20 years later, when Fanny’s son discovers the identity of his true father and heads out on a search for Marius, whose life, we learn, has been fraught with hardship.

Monday, May 29, 2017

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In this final installment of the "Marseille Trilogy," written by playwright Marcel Pagnol, César begins 20 years after the characters in the previous film, Fanny, have found an uneasy stability. Fanny (Orane Demazis) and her much-older husband, Honore Panisse (Fernand Charpin), have raised their son, Césariot, as their own, although the real father was secretly Fanny's former lover, Marius (Pierre Fresnay). But as the elderly Panisse lies on his deathbed, Fanny finally reveals the truth, telling Ce´sariot about his biological father, a former seaman-turned-mechanic. Posing as a journalist, Césariot seeks out and spends time with the destitute Marius, but it is not until Marius' father, César, shows up as an intermediary that the scattered family can begin to heal old wounds. While the first two films, Marius (1931) and Fanny (1932), were adaptations of Pagnol's stage plays, this final film in the trilogy was the only one written and directed by Pagnol himself as an original screenplay, which provided more of a spotlight on the César character; the gruff, emotional, and comic glue that holds the family together. Played with scene-stealing gusto by a music-hall comedian known as Raimu, César helps bring the epic love story to a satisfying conclusion. Presented at SIFF after a stunning digital 4K restoration, César and the rest of the trilogy are not-to-be-missed classic tales of sacrifice, redemption, and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Director Biography

Marcel Pagnol was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. Many of his works are considered classics of French cinema, most notably the "Marseille" trilogy. He wrote all three screenplays and even directed the final installment of the series, César (1936).

Sponsored by KING 5

  • Original Language Title: César
  • Director: Marcel Pagnol
  • Principal Cast: Raimu, Pierre Fresnay, Orane Demazis, Fernand Charpin
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: France
  • Year: 1936
  • Running Time: 141 minutes
  • Producer: Charles Pons
  • Screenplay: Marcel Pagnol
  • Cinematographers: Willy Faktorovitch
  • Editors: Suzanne de Troeye
  • Music: Vincent Scotto
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Letters from My Windmill (1954); Manon of the Spring (1952); Topaze (1951); The Pretty Miller Girl (1950); The Well-Digger's Daughter (1940); The Baker's Wife (1938); Merlusse (1938)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Janus Films