1935 / 84m - France
Crime, Drama
Toni poster


July 08, 2024


An early Renoir. While in many ways very different from its US contemporaries, sound also steered French cinema towards dialogue-heavy films in the 30s. Rather than quippy romance though, the French quickly defaulted to poverty porn and drearier dramas. Point in case: Toni.

Toni is a young Italian who moves to France to find work. He ends up working in a quarry and lands a roof over his head with Marie. Marie falls in love with him, but Toni has his eyes set on Josepha. His love dies out when she is raped and married off to her rapist to avoid a big scandal.

There's a ton of dialogue to wade through, especially during the first half of the film, which is a bother since the performances aren't great. The cinematography is dreary too, the drama is predictable and uninteresting and the few songs in between are terrible. Not a great film, cinema struggled in the 30s.