The films of Jacques Becker, one of the great but unsung French directors of the post-war era, are filled with love and life.
As an assistant to Jean Renoir in the 1930s, Becker drew from his mentor a fondness for realism and an unwavering sense of human decency. He became a director during the Occupation, showing an aptitude for taking on familiar genres – comedy, film noir, social drama – and putting his own spin on them. Films such as Casque d’or and Touchez pas au grisbi reveal a generous attitude to people of dubious morality, for Becker was always more interested in human complexity than plots, and he showed his working-class characters in a more sympathetic light than the brittle bourgeoisie. Few filmmakers have matched his love of Frenchness, and in particular the city of Paris. Becker’s films have benefited from several recent restorations, unveiling a director of rare passion and invention.
See our Big Screen Classics screenings in March.
Complementing the BFI Season, a Tribute to Jacques Becker runs at Ciné Lumière from 19-26 March, featuring two of his late films, Les Aventures d'Arsène Lupin and Le Trou.