Léon Morin prêtre

(Eva und der Priester)

France / Italia 1961

par Jean-Pierre Melville

avec: Emmanuelle Riva (Barny), Jean-Paul Belmondo (Léon Morin), Irene Tunc (Christine), Nicole Mirel (Sabine), Patricia Gozzi (France), Marielle Gozzi (Franc), Gisèle Grimm (Lucienne), Gerard Buhr (Gunther), Monique Hennessy (Arlette), Howard Vernon (The colonel)

Léon Morin, Prêtre was one of the first films to take a serious look at life in France under the Nazi occupation. Writer-director Jean-Pierre Melville uses his priest protagonist (Jean-Paul Belmondo) to chronicle the lives of the residents of the small occupied town, from those who fight in the Resistance to those who simply want to survive. The central story explores the sexual tension between priest and parishioner, with an unusually frank approach for the early 1960s. Melville's detailed, observant portrait imbues the film with a unique credibility, and Belmondo gives a sexy, charismatic performance that enhances the film's thematic contrasts. Léon Morin is also uncommon for the early 1960s in its passionate argument against anti-Semitism. Few films before or after have examined spirituality and religion in so convincing a manner.

Richard Gilliam, All-Movie Guide

Ein katholischer Priester bewirkt durch sein Beispiel und die Überzeugungskraft seiner theologischen Diskussionen die Rückkehr einer jungen Frau zum Glauben. Ein reifes, ernsthaftes Werk, das auch schwierige Fragen überzeugend zu bewältigen weiß; immer noch sehens- und diskussionswert, obwohl die Originalfassung um fast ein Viertel gekürzt wurde und die deutsche Verleihsynchronisation weitere Änderungen vornahm. Die später vom ZDF rekonstruierte Version ermöglicht eine Überprüfung der bewußten Verfälschungen und eine Einordnung ins zeitliche Umfeld.

Lexikon des Internationalen Films

Aiming successfully for a wider audience in 1961, the neglected French independent Jean-Pierre Melville (Les enfants terribles, Le samourai) adapted Beatrix Beck's autobiographical novel, set in a French village during World War II, about a young woman falling in love with a handsome, radical young priest who's fully aware of his power over her. For the starring roles Melville, godfather of the New Wave, ironically selected two talented actors catapulted to fame by that movement—Hiroshima, mon amour's Emmanuele Riva and Breathless's Jean-Paul Belmondo. The poetic results are literary and personal; the heroine's offscreen narration suggests the pre-Bressonian form of Melville's first feature, Le silence de la mer, and sudden subjective shots convey the woman's physical proximity to the priest as she undergoes an ambiguous religious conversion. Not an unqualified success, the film remains strong for its performances, its inventive editing and framing, and its evocative rendering of the French occupation. According to Melville, the film ran for 193 minutes in its prerelease form; he edited out 65 minutes, and another 18 minutes are missing from the present version. The eclectic and resourceful nonjazz score is by jazz pianist Martial Solal.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Melville (nach dem Roman "Léon Morin" von Béatrix Beck)
Producer: Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti
Director of Photography: Henri Decaë (b/w)
Camera Operator: Jean Rabier
Original Music: Martial Solal, Albert Raisner
Film Editor: Jacqueline Meppiel, Nadine Marquand, Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte
Sound: Guy Villette, Jacques Maumont (sound mixer)
First Assistant Director: Volker Schlöndorff, Jacqueline Parey
Production Design: Daniel Guéret
Set Decoration: Robert Christides
Makeup: Christiane Fornelli
Production Companies: Rome / Paris / Lux / Champion
Distributor: Lux Films [fr]

Runtime: 128 min (USA) / 118 min (USA) / 91 min (BRD)
Cinematographic process: Black and White, 35mm Spherical, 1:66:1 Widescreen
Sound Mix: Mono, S.I.M.O.
Filming Locations: Studio de la rue Jenner Paris
Release dates: 28 June 1963 (BRD)

Awards: Festival Biennale Venezia 1961 Grand Prix / British Academy Awards 1963 Nominated Best Foreign Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo

Le film est superbement restauré, le noir et blanc est lumineux et contrasté, une piste mono très claire.

DVDmania - Mars 2000

Gaumont Columbia Tristar Home Video / Opening / Canal+ Image
Les Films de ma Vie
Runtime: 111:57 Min
(+ 4% PAL Speedup = 117 min)
Video: 1.62:1/16:9 Anamorphic WideScreen
Audio: Français Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: None
Features: Theatrical Trailer (03:00 min) • Notes de production • Filmographies
DVD Release Date: 9 March 2000 • Chapters: 18 • Keep Case • DVD Encoding: PAL Region 2 (France) • SS-SL/DVD-5