Raphael, the great man who trudged into the French film Scarlett, carries an unbearable burden. World War I has just ended and, like all combatants, he is on his way home with a broken bone. Upon his arrival, he finds that his wife has died and that his baby Juliet has been left behind. He mourns the death of his wife, but the girl soon becomes his sun, his moon, and eventually the signpost that guides this picturesque tale from one historical period to the next.
“Scarlett” is the story of a father and daughter and the different realms that surround them like concentric circles. The inevitable fast-changing world, mass production and social revolution of their small communities, the nearby villages that looked away from them, and the burgeoning cities in the distance. As the years pass, our characters experience incidents of humiliation, rejection, and violence, as well as mild and kind events. They will persevere, strengthened by humanity, an ingrained sense of the earth, and the enduring strength of affection.
As with Martin Eden, a bold adaptation of a Jack London novel, Italian director Pietro Marcello once again charts an unconventional narrative line. “Scarlet” is based on the novel “Scarlet Sails” by Russian author Alexander Grin (Green in some translations). Marcello, who co-wrote the script with his three others, borrowed Glynne’s story and gave it a new direction. However, as in the novel, the key focus remains the relationship between the father, played by the outstanding Rafael Thierry, and his daughter, played by Juliette Juan, who is four children and an adult throughout the film.
“Scarlet” begins in a somber atmosphere with what appears to be a colorized documentary of the post-war scene, and is soon followed by striking archival images set to the sound of the ringing of funeral bells, which can sometimes be heard in old films hissing. replaced by a whooshing or crackling sound. Shortly after that comes Raphael. A lone figure in uniform shuffles through a dark, desolate French field. In less than a few seconds, he is trudging through the village, down a path cut into a beautiful opening in the woods, his body backlit by the early dawn. As if he’s on stage, he’s a perfect fit for a character on the brink of a new adventure.