Marcel Carné

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Marcel Carné (seated) with Roland Lesaffre (1995)

Marcel Carné (born August 18, 1906 in Paris , † October 31, 1996 in Clamart near Paris) was a French film director .


Carné was the son of a carpenter. His mother died when he was five years old, so he was raised by his grandmother and an aunt. After attending an arts and crafts school and doing military service, the young Carné, who was interested in film, initially worked as an insurance agent and then came to film as a camera technician. When he was already a camera assistant, he also began writing film reviews for Paris newspapers.

In 1929 he used a hand-held camera to shoot the short documentary film Nogent about Sunday excursionists in Paris. The film career as a director was still a long time coming. First he traveled to the USA as a film critic . Back in France, he became assistant director to René Clair and Jacques Feyder . Feyder became something like Carné's artistic godfather. He introduced him to the author Jacques Prévert , nine years his senior , with whom Carné remained lifelong friends and who wrote the screenplay for his debut as a feature film director: Feyder's wife Françoise Rosay played the leading role alongside Jean-Louis Barrault in the film Jenny . His breakthrough came with his second film Drôle de drame : Prévert had again written the screenplay, this time for a crime grotesque that is as important in France as arsenic and lace bonnets or ladykillers in the USA and England. The two films Le Quai des brumes and Le jour se lève , in each of which Jean Gabin played the leading role, made Carné next to Jean Renoir the most important French filmmaker of the 1930s ( poetic realism ). The Second World War and the occupation by the Germans could not end this rise. Carné's films were banned by the occupying power; but he managed to make Les visiteurs du soir in 1942 and, between 1943 and 1945, Children of Olympus under the most difficult conditions , the most important film in his work, which is considered one of the best films of all time.

In the decades after the Second World War, Carné could not build on earlier successes and the level of Children of Olympus . He made his last film in 1977 and then lived in seclusion. Marcel Carné was the first jury president of a 1956 Berlinale at the Berlin International Film Festival . In 1979 he was elected as the first film director to the Académie des Beaux-Arts .

Marcel Carné died on October 31, 1996 at the age of 90 in Clamart near Paris. He was buried on the Cimetière Saint-Vincent on Montmartre .



1938: Venice Film Festival - Honorable Mention for directing Hafen im Nebel
1953: Venice Film Festival - Silver Lion for Thérèse Racquin
1971: Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion of Honor for his life's work
1979: César for his life's work
1991: Luchino Visconti Prize for his life's work at the David di Donatello award ceremony
1995: European film award for his life's work


  • Marcel Carné: La vie à belle dents. Souvenirs. Belfond, Paris 1989, ISBN 2-7144-2362-0 (French autobiography)
  • Edward Baron Turk: Child of Paradise. Marcel Carné and the golden age of French cinema. Cambridge (Massachusetts), Harvard University Press, London 1989, ISBN 0-674-11460-4
  • Anja Sieber: The scorn of fear. Jacques Prévert's social criticism in Marcel Carné's films. Avinus, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-930064-00-7
  • Peter Theml: [Article] Marcel Carné. In: Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film directors. Biographies, descriptions of works, filmographies. With 109 illustrations. 3rd, updated and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008 [1. Ed. 1999], ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4 , pp. 113-117

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Turk: Child of Paradise. P. 448