5 items from 2015
Qui aime les films français ?
If you do and you live in St. Louis, you’re in luck! The Seventh Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — co-presented by Cinema St. Louis and the Webster University Film Series begins March 13th. The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1930s through the early 1990s, offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The fest is annually highlighted by significant restorations.
This year features recent restorations of eight works, including an extended director’s cut of Patrice Chéreau’s historical epic Queen Margot a New York-set film noir (Two Men In Manhattan) by crime-film maestro Jean-Pierre Melville, who also co-stars; a short feature (“A Day in the Country”) by Jean Renoir, on a double bill with the 2006 restoration of his masterpiece, The Rules Of The Game, and the »
- Tom Stockman
Written and directed by Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country comes at a curious point in the director’s career. In 1936, he had several exceptional silent films to his credit, as well as such classics of early French sound cinema as La Chienne (1931), Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932), and The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936), among others. But he had still not yet achieved his singular place on world cinema’s pre-war stage. That he would do just a year later, with La Grande Illusion (1937). As noted on the new Criterion Blu-ray, A Day in the Country was “conceived as a short feature…[and] nearly finished production in 1936 when Renoir was called away for The Lower Depths. Shooting was abandoned then, but the film was completed with the existing footage by Renoir’s team and released in its current form in 1946, after the »
- Jeremy Carr
Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939). This thematic and »
- Andre Soares
'Cat People' 1942 actress Simone Simon Remembered: Starred in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic (photo: Simone Simon in 'Cat People') Pert, pouty, pretty Simone Simon is best remembered for her starring roles in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie Cat People (1942) and in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938). Long before Brigitte Bardot, Mamie Van Doren, Ann-Margret, and (for a few years) Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm in a film career that spanned a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both sides of the Atlantic – at times, with fatal results. During that period, Simon was featured in nearly 40 movies in France, Italy, Germany, Britain, and Hollywood. Besides Jean Renoir, in her native country she worked for the likes of Jacqueline Audry »
- Andre Soares
The art decoration of “Eva & Leon” is sublime, its impact immediate in the measured static shots of Eva’s chic and huge arrondissement Paris flat, classical in the carefully contrasting tones of white, gray, blue and salmon, setting off of furniture, curtains, drapes, sofas, cushions, gray and walls, high ceilings. A life-size flamingo stands by the mantelpiece. But such luxury is not enough. Eva, 35 (Clotilde Hesme), svelte, a dandy, an flaneur, cultured, immature, no children, absent mother, recluse father, termigant sis, lives a privileged life few can dream of, at least seriously. But, as the film suggests, she needs Leon, 10, an orphan who has escaped from his reception miles away outside France to try to find his birth-mother, to give her life an emotional anchor. Emilie Cherpitel’s film portrays their growing relationship of an odd couple. Distributed in France and sold abroad by Pyramide, one of Europe’s top arthouse production-distribution-sales companies, »
- John Hopewell
5 items from 2015
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