Dir. Jacques Becker, 1943. 104 min. B&W. 35mm.
With Fernand Ledoux, Georges Rollin, Blanchette Brunoy
In French with English subtitles
The arrival of a young city slicker sets off a chain reaction of resentment, cupidity, theft, and murder within the eccentric Goupi clan of rural innkeepers and landowners.
Shot during the German occupation of France, many critics have considered the shadowy atmosphere and elements as Becker’s somber response to a dark period in history. Goupi Mains Rouges, the reclusive uncle who ultimately upholds justice, serves as the film’s ethical center, both a reminder of the rural population’s essential decency and an example of Becker’s gift for balancing comedic characterization with moral complexity.
“This is a truly crackpot fable, with a strong undercurrent of sense, in which bumpkin humor and open violence are almost sadistically mixed.” — The New York Times