Thursday, June 11, 2009

Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm

The Alliance continues its series on Eric Rohmer for the first three weeks of June


At Alliance Française on Friday, June 12:  Ma nuit chez Maud / My Night at Maud's (1969) by Eric Rohmer – 110 mins – France, Drama/ Romance. Black and white. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 80 out of 100.


With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian, Maris-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez.


After spending several years abroad, Jean-Louis, an engineer recently settled in Clermont-Ferrand, longs for some peace and quiet. At the church he attends every Sunday, he notices a young blonde woman he fancies and decides that she will become his wife. Then, while at local restaurant, he meets Vidal, an old-school friend, now a professor of philosophy at Clermont-Ferrand University. Vidal invites him to spend Christmas Eve at Maud's house. A doctor and a divorcee, the dark-haired Maud, a beautiful, fascinating and single woman, is not impervious to Jean-Louis' charms...

– Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes: The third film in Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series, My Night at Maud's is the story of Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant), an engineer for Michelin who, though a straitlaced, conservative, self-reflective Catholic, is nonetheless swayed by the wiles of the women who surround him. His motives are constantly unclear, and his actions contradict his moral preachings at every turn. As the film begins, Jean-Louis is living in a furnished rented apartment off the beaten path in Ceyrat, outside of a small suburb of Paris called Clermont. He spies a cute blonde in church and feels inspired to pursue her but is too shy. The rest of the film unfolds as a debate about morals, Catholicism vs. atheism, fidelity, and, of course, love. With his old high school friend, philosophy professor Vidal (Antoine Vitez), he passes an evening, then spends the night with the divorced, challenging, rebellious, yet ultimately adorable Maud. Though he is tempted by her provocations, he resists. That is, he resists long enough to go for the young woman he spotted among the pews. (And the earlier church scene is echoed in hilarious fashion with Jean-Louis and the blonde staring bleary-eyed up at an overwhelming sermon from an intimidating priest.) Overall, in classic Rohmer style, My Night at Maud's – which garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplayis a long, looping dialogue that never resolves itself.  



At Alliance Française on Friday, June 19:  Le beau mariage / A Good Marriage (1982) by Eric Rohmer – 100 mins – France, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 73 out of 100.


With Béatrice Romand, André Dussollier, Féodor Atkine, Arielle Dombasle.              


Sabine, whose family lives in Le Mans, studies Art in Paris. One evening, she breaks off with her lover who is already married and decides to find herself a husband…

– Alliance description


The secondof six films in Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series.

 Rotten Tomatoes: This, the second of six films in director Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series, paints a cute but embarrassing portrait of Sabine (Béatrice Romand), a headstrong young woman longing for love, maturity, respect, commitment, and "the real thing." She packages up her woes, boldly walks out on her married lover, impulsively quits her job in an antique shop, and proudly announces that she has found the solution to all of her problems: She is getting married. This news comes as a big surprise to her older, happily married best friend Clarisse (Arielle Dambasle), who quickly recovers from her shock and warms to the task of finding a husband for Sabine. When Clarisse introduces Sabine to her painfully dull cousin, Edmond (André Dussollier), Sabine is easily convinced that he will fit the bill as her speedily chosen spouse, but Edmond is not as gullible as Sabine would care to think. Despite her aggressive pursuit of Edmond, he manages to slip out of her grasp, leaving her looking like a pouting adolescent--which she basically is. The strength of Rohmer's film resides in his delicate feel for the wonderfully loyal, understanding bond between Clarisse and Sabine and for the way that even Sabine's most ludicrous ideas are acknowledged and accepted by her friends and family. A Good Marriage, which reads like a coming-of-age tale, fits perfectly with the thematically similar films in the series, all of which spotlight struggling, passionate characters like Sabine.


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At Alliance Française on Friday, June 26:  Casque d'or / Golden Helmet / Golden Marie (1952) by Jacques Becker – 96 mins – France, Crime/ Drama/ Romance. B&W. English subtitles. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 84 out of 100.


With Simone Signoret, Claude Dauphin, Serge Reggiani, Raymond Bussieres, Gaston Modot, William Sabatier.              

1898. The magnificent love between Marie, nicknamed Casque d’Or, and a carpenter named Manda. Marie was the girlfriend of one of the hoodlums of Leca’s gang. Manda faces and defies the gang, kills Leca...

– Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes:  Starring international sex symbol Simone Signoret, Casque d'or is often considered director Jacques Becker's masterpiece. Becker was an assistant to the legendary Jean Renoir, and Renoir's influence on Becker is readily apparent in this poetic, impressionist film. Signoret plays Marie, the girlfriend of a minor gangster, who falls in love with a working man. Their love affair leads to a power struggle within the gang and speeds everyone inexorably towards tragedy. Casque d'or features a diligent and careful production design that recreates Paris of the late 19th century, and was based on actual criminal cases from that era. Though dismissed on its initial release in 1952, aside from a BAFTA acting award for Signoret, the critical reputation of Casque d'or grew in subsequent years and is now generally considered one of France's great artistic films


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