50 Years of French Cinema

Thursdays, May 8 - June 12, 2003

We're extremely pleased to present this brief survey of French cinema from the 1950s to the present, and wish to thank the French Consulate in Boston for their support. The series presents a different double-bill every week, each one representing a different decade. For the Fifties we present a rare screening of the classic EARRINGS OF MADAME DE... paired with the quintessential thriller LES DIABOLIQUES. For the Sixties, a foray in the New Wave with Truffaut's JULES & JIM and Godard's BAND OF OUTSIDERS. In the Seventies, another rare screening: LES CHOSES DE LA VIE. This great film is currently unavailable in any form in the U.S. and we will be importing a print from France just for this screening. Other rare screenings and treats highlight the rest of the series, so check out the full line-up and save the dates now!

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Earrings of Madame De...
at 7:30
1953 Max Ophuls w/Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica

Returning to the Brattle after 10 years, MADAME DE...is one of the great romantic classics of French cinema and features an exquisitely constructed chain of events. against a backdrp of 19th-cenury opulence, Ophuls traces the path of a pair of earrings from wife to husband to mistress to suitor and back to wife while uncovering lives hollow of fulfillment and relationships empty of love.

Les Diaboliques
at 5:00, 9:45
1955 Henry-Georges Clouzot w/Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Often imitated and twice remade, LES DIABOLIQUES is a prototypical suspense film. A beleaguered wife and mistress come up with a scheme to rid the world of the cruel man they share. But when his supposedly cold body disappears, the tension mounts to an exhilarating climax.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Jules and Jim
at 7:30
1962 Francois Truffaut w/Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino, Boris Bassiak

Fran¨ois Truffaut is, arguably, the most important French director of the past 50 years. His films have had an indelible effect on moviemaking, storytelling and, for many people, life itself. Along with Godard (see below) he was at the epicenter of the French New Wave, the movement that injected a much-needed dose of humor and passion into world cinema. JULES AND JIM tells of two friends who love the same woman: the carefree Catherine (Moreau), who loves them both. As spontaneous and exciting as Catherine herself, the film makes no judgments on its characters even as the traditional modes of love and commitment are challenged.

Band of Outsiders
at 5:15, 9:45
1964 Jean-Luc Godard w/Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey

If Truffaut is the most famous French director of our time, then Godard has got to be the most infamous. Godard challenges not just story structure and filmmaking techniques but frequently defies logic and accepted moral codes as well. BAND OF OUTSIDERS features another trio of star-crossed lovers, this time anchored by the gorgeous Anna Karina. Instead of focusing on the intricacies of their relationships, however, Godard meditates on boredom, impulsiveness and the American gangster movie. An anarchic, brave, and, above all, entertaining piece of cinema.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Les Choses de la Vie
at 7:30
1969 Claude Sautet w/Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Gerard Lartigau, Joine Boise

A rarely screened treat, this is a powerful exploration of life and death. The fantastic Piccoli plays a man who has had a serious car accident. He drifts in and out of consciousness, contemplating the seemingly mundane events of the previous days and choices he has made (or avoided making) in his life.

Chloe in the Afternoon
at 5:30, 9:30
1972 Eric Rohmer w/Bernard Verley, Zouzou, Francoise Verley, Daniel Ceccaldi, Malvina Penne, Babette Ferrier

Director Rohmer is, at 83, the oldest living director in this series and he's still going strong. With the acclaimed THE LADY & THE DUKE (2001), he has proven that he will remain a vanguard filmmaker until the day he dies. In CHLOE, Rohmer presents the story of a happily married man who has no intention of cheating on his wifeÉ until, that is, he befriends the former mistress of an old friend.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Camille Claudel
at 7:00
1988 Bruno Nuytten w/Isabelle Adjani, Gˇrard Depardieu, Laurent Grˇvil

CAMILLE CLAUDEL features the ravishing Adjani as the title character, a promising sculptor who is taken as a protˇgˇ by Auguste Rodin (French film staple Depardieu) only to find herself under his thumb artistically and emotionally. Breathtaking camera work from and deft direction bring this drama to luminous, magnificent life.

La Femme Nikita
at 4:30, 10:00
1990 Luc Besson w/Anne Parillaud, Tchˇky Karyo, Jean-Hughes Anglade, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Reno

At the other end of the spectrum of French filmmaking during the '80s, NIKITA is Besson's flashy, sexy, brazen assault on the senses. Nikita is a young woman living life on the edge on the streets of Paris who is arrested for murder and subsequently kidnapped by the government and trained as an assassin.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Irma Vep
at 3:00, 7:30
1996 Olivier Assayas w/Maggi Cheung, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Nathalie Richard, Antoine Basler, Nathalie Boutefeu, Alex Descas

Leaud plays a filmmaker in decline trying to remake a silent crime serial. Hong Kong ingenue Maggie Cheung plays herself as a foreign star at sea in a city where she doesn't speak the language. Assayas creates both a homage to the New Wave and a film that is thrillingly refreshing.

at 5:15, 9:45
1991 Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet w/Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac, Jean-Claud Dreyfus

Paints a bleak but romantic portrait of a post-apocalyptic world where meat is so scarce that a certain resourceful butcher is forced to make due with what's at hand... Everything goes to pot when a charming, out-of-work clown (the rubber-faced Pinon) moves in and the butcher's daughter falls for him.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Beau Travail
at 3:30, 7:30
1999 Claire Denis w/Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin

BEAU TRAVAIL is a sun-bleached vision of Melville's Billy Budd set in the French Foreign Legion in Africa. An officer reflects on the contempt and obsession that he felt for a handsome new recruit in a series of flashbacks that play out like an extended dream.

Under the Sand
at 5:30, 9:30
2000 Francois Ozon w/Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot, Alexandra Stewart, Pierre Vernier

UNDER THE SAND follows a woman (Rampling) whose husband of 25 years disappears one day at the beach leaving no clues, no body and no focus for her emotions. A truly intimate and dazzling picture of a woman adrift in the world.

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