* Director: René Clair
* Script: Jean Aurel, René Clair, based on a novel by René Fallet
* Photo: Robert Lefebvre, Albert Militon
* Music: Georges Brassens
* Cast: Pierre Brasseur (Juju), Georges Brassens (L\'Artiste), Henri Vidal (Pierre Barbier), Dany Carrel (Maria), Raymond Bussières (Alphonse), Gabrielle Fontan (Mme Sabatier), Amédée (Paulo), Annette Poivre (Nénette), Alain Bouvette (Le copain de Paulo), Alice Tissot (La concierge), Georges Bever (Le pharmacien)
* Country: France
* Language: French
* Runtime: 95 min; B&W
* Aka: Gate of Lilacs; The Gates of Paris; Il quartiere dei lillà AKAS IMDB
A guitar player who calls himself \"The Artist\" strikes up a friendship with a dim-witted slob named Juju, who drinks too much and who has taken a fancy to Maria, the daughter of his pub landlord. To repay a small gesture of friendship, Juju steals several tins of pâté de foie gras from a grocer’s shop. At the time, the police are evacuating the area because a notorious armed crook is in the vicinity. When they learn that the police are carrying out a house to house search, Juju and the artist throw the tins of pâté out of a window, and, after the search, they go and retrieve them. Returning to the artist’s shack, they are confronted by crook, Pierre Barbier. They agree to shelter him, in the cellar. To the artist’s amazement, Juju goes to extraordinary lengths to help Barbier, even to the extent of giving up Maria to him...
After the sophistication and scale of René Clair’s grand melodramas of the late 1940s and early 1950s (such as Le Silence est d\'or and Les Grandes manoeuvres ), the director returned to his roots in his 1957 film Porte des Lilas, a film which is immediately evocative of Clair’s early successes, most notably Sous les toits de Paris. The gloomy sets of the Paris slums, populated by wild ragamuffin children and drunks, conjure up a universe that is every bit as artificial as that of Le Silence est d\'or, but it provides the perfect tapestry for Clair’s unpretentious comedy thriller, the nearest that Clair was able to get to making a film noir (then the most popular genre in French cinema).
Porte des lilas is probably best known for being the only film in which the legendary popular musician Georges Brassens appeared. Although he plays a lead character, Brassens has surprisingly little to do in the film, being there mainly to add atmosphere, with his appropriately melancholic songs. The show stealer is Pierre Brasseur who appears in probably his best comic role, the naïve drunkard Juju, a character that invites ridicule and poignancy in equal measure. Henri Vidal, better known for his straight romantic roles, looks ill at ease in his comic role, which is far less developed than Brasseur’s. That said, Vidal’s performance is entertaining and his final showdown with Brasseur is brilliantly executed.