Directing a film is hard enough in the best circumstances, yet Marcel Carné made his three-hour epic period piece Les Enfants du Paradis in France under Nazi occupation. All materials were rationed and electricity was, at best, sporadic. Some of the huge cast were Resistance fighters using the filming as their sole way of meeting during daylight and constantly dodging the Nazis and collaborators put on the production by Vichy officials. The music and the sets were designed by two Jewish men who worked from hiding. Some of the 1,800 extras were starving and stole food from the banquet scenes before it could be filmed. Although there was nothing overtly queer in the plot, gay viewers could probably sympathize with the story of a beautiful woman in the 1830s, Garance, who was torn between four lovers: an aristocrat, a thief, an actor, and a mime. Instantly adored when it premiered in March 1945, the movie played in Paris for more than a year and its prestige has endured. The movie theater at Centre Pompidou is named Salle Garance in honor of the heroine, and in the late 1990s a poll of six hundred critics and movie people in France named it the greatest French film of the twentieth century. Carné was thirty-nine when he directed Les Enfants du Paradis, his seventh movie, and over the next thirty years he made ten more features, some of which starred his partner Roland Lesaffre. He died at ninety in 1996.