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At the Top of the Stairs

En haut des marches (French with English subtitles)
Main screening room
May 30th, 2023
92 min
Paul Vecchiali (1930-2023)

In homage to Paul Vecchiali, this cycle proposes to revisit some of the major films of this prolific filmmaker and passionate cinephile. Vecchiali was independent, in every sense of the word. The melodramatic cinema of the 1930s, to which he dedicated a monumental Encineclopedia, inspired his freedom of spirit and his lyricism. His movies bet on sentimentality, impertinence and unreality to tackle themes such as sexuality, homosexuality or the taboos of the post-war France. Faced with financing difficulties, he created in 1977 the production company Diagonale, a collective utopia that has sheltered many filmmakers in search of artistic independence.

At the Top of the Stairs
Directed by
Paul Vecchiali
French with English subtitles
Danielle Darrieux, Françoise Lebrun, Nicolas Silberg
92 min
35 mm

After 18 years of exile, a woman returns to Toulon to avenge her fiancé who, accused of collaboration, was executed at the Liberation.

At the Top of the Stairs

Paul Vecchiali

Born in 1930 in Ajaccio, Paul Vecchiali grew up in Toulon and then moved to Paris, where he entered the Ecole Polytechnique. After graduating, he quickly turned to cinema. He began writing for Cahiers du cinéma and making short films. From his first feature film, Les ruses du diable, in 1965, until the end of his life, he made more than fifty films, mixing melodrama, autobiography, dreamlike and experimental films to tackle issues such as desire, homosexuality, the AIDS crisis, the death penalty... A free electron and unclassifiable artist, Vacchiali suffered from a lack of funding, a situation that he turns into a farce in À vot’ bon cœur. Paul Vecchiali was also a producer, notably of the first films of Jean Eustache, and founded the production company Diagonale in 1976. In 2010, he published L'Encinéclopédie, a veritable sum on the French cinema of the 1930s, for which he had a passion and which inspired his own work.


Paul Vecchiali's filmography
Full cast