Maya (Raymond Bernard, 1949)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Maya.

Maya, a Hindu word describing magic and illusion, is embodied in Bella (Viviane Romance), a bewitching prostitute in an atmospheric port town who conjures the fantasies of visiting travelers and temporarily becomes the women of their dreams. The pragmatic Bella has no expectation of finding true love or leaving her profession until she meets Jean (Jean-Pierre Grenier), a passing sailor who saves her from the police and devotes himself to building a life with her, provided fate does not intervene. Based on Simon Gantillon’s successful play and produced by Viviane Romance herself, Raymond Bernard’s Maya deftly blends the styles and techniques of poetic realism, film noir, melodrama, and Cocteau-like fantasy to create a world of mystery and eroticism.


  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • “The Film That Made You,” a 1989 conversation between Viviane Romance and Louis le Roy
  • Interview with film critic Italo Manzi on the casting and distribution
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: Essay by filmmaker Guy Maddin

Continue reading

Such a Pretty Little Beach (Yves Allegret, 1949)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Such a Pretty Little Beach.

criterion logoPierre, a young and disillusioned man, arrives at a small hotel in a seaside town in northern France.  In the cold, driving rain of the resort’s off-season, he wanders its deserted beach haunted by his past.  His gloomy demeanor raises the suspicions of the hotel’s staff and guests, including an unsavory and mysterious man who arrives shortly after him and who takes a peculiar interest in Pierre.  Yves Allégret’s Such a Pretty Little Beach is a gorgeously melancholic work of film noir aesthetics that evokes the fatalism of French poetic realism, shot by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan and exploring for the first time the dramatic potential of its star Gérard Philipe.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital film restoration, with DTS-HD Master dual-mono soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Gérard Philipe: The Beginnings of a Child Prodigy, a video retrospective featuring interviews with French writers and filmmakers including Gérard Bonal, Alain Ferrari, Olivier Barrot, and Francis Huster
  • A 1973 episode of Au cinéma ce soir with interviews of Yves Allégret, Jacques Sigurd, and Jean Servais
  • Short, music-only film from the Gaumont Pathé Archives on the children of the state orphanages
  • Alternate ending
  • Photo gallery
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by French film scholar Susan Hayward

Continue reading