The Best Old Movie on a Big Screen This Week: January 21-27

01/21/2015 11:00 AM |

film-le-corbeau3

The Raven (1943)
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Clouzot almost got himself banned from filmmaking with this Occupation-era flick, but it’s not exactly the traditionalist pap Pétain would’ve liked. A small French town is plagued by poison-pen letters signed by an otherwise anonymous Raven—at first targeting surly newcomer Dr. Germain, but later, in the spirit of inclusion, accusing most everyone of everything. Not wrongly, either: the citizens of St. Martin quickly reveal themselves as hypocrites at best, and each crisp, talky encounter mires the town deeper in collective sinning. But sinning against what, or whom? Like any zone occupée, Le Corbeau is short on innocents. A running woman in a sable cape echoes expressionist nightmares, and a swinging lamp lights the way toward noir, but the undeniable heady pleasures of Le Corbeau—like worrying a rotten tooth—should serve as strong reminder that you’re not saintly, either. Elina Mishuris (Jan 24, 30, 7pm; Feb 2, 9:15pm at Anthology Film Archives’s “French Classics of the 1930s-40s”)