Children of Paradise (1945) is the classic 190-minute film by director Marcel Carne and scenarist Jacques Prevert. The paradise of the title is not 19th century Paris, the movie’s setting, but rather the personal paradise in some of the characters’ minds. The “children” are mostly theatre actors; one who is not is an aristocratic, misanthropic criminal (Marcel Herrand)—often a fumbler of his crimes. People with paradise in their minds want what they want, and invariably it involves the self more than other people. Significantly, there is a sequence in which a man named Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), as he tries to catch up with the elegant woman Garance (Arletty), disappears in a big crowd of merrymakers in the street. A self now made anonymous seems to exist here.
(In French with English subtitles)