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Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) 

"After a quarter-century or so, a revisit to [Children of Paradise] is cheerful and encouraging," The New York Times' Richard Eder wrote in 1976, before a retrospective showing of Marcel CarnŽ's 1945 classic. "Some things have grown fusty and cramped in it, but in general the damage of time is like the gilt flaking off a picture frame. It dates the picture within, but doesn't harm it. ... It is a big stagecoach of a movie -- more than three hours along -- that rumbles serviceably and creakily on a perfectly recognizable road. It is the passengers who are magic." If that's the reaction some 30 years after its premiere, imagine what another three decades have done to CarnŽ's epic, which has been routinely called the French Gone With the Wind. The plot concerns the mysterious woman Garance (Arletty) and her three loves: the mime Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault, pictured), the actor Frederick (Pierre Brasseur) and criminal Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand). The film marks the second screening of the New Orleans Film Festival's (NOFF) collaboration with the Consulat General de Francs a la Nouvelle-Orleans, "French Cinema Under the Occupation." Tickets $7.50 general admission, $6 NOFF members.

3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21

Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 523-3818 or 891-2787; www.ticketweb.com

click to enlarge THE CRITERION COLLECTION
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