At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
At Alliance Française on Friday, July 31: Trafic / Traffic (1971) by JacquesTati – 96 mins – France/ Italy, Comedy. English subtitles. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 81 out of 100.
With Jacques Tati, Maria Kimberly,Marcel Fraval.
Mr. Hulot drives a recreational vehicle from Paris to Amsterdam in his usual comic, disastrous style.…
– Alliance description
Film.com, Mark Bourne: A mime, director, and actor, Tati cast himself as M. Hulot in four movies -- Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953, Mr. Hulot's Holiday in the USA), Mon Oncle (1959, Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film), his masterpiece Playtime (1967), and Trafic (1971). Like a character from the earlier era of Chaplin and Keaton (two of Tati's acknowledged influences), Hulot is comically at odds with the people and things he encounters in his misadventures in the modern world. His signature trenchcoat, high-water pants, pipe (smokeless), hat, and tipsy-flamingo walk make him immediately recognizable, as does the umbrella he always carries but doesn't open until the end of the final Hulot film, Trafic. He interacts with the world -- especially in the earlier films -- with an obliviousness that's childlike in a way that underscores how much our world may have grown too "adult" for our own good.
Tati once said that the aim of his comedies was not to send us rolling in the aisles with one-liners and stock situations. Instead he strived to "turn regular life into a gag." The gag may be on us, but we still get to enjoy the sweet ride.
Rotten Tomatoes: JacquesTati's beleaguered and oblivious alter ego Mr. Hulot returns for his fourth screen appearance in this ridiculous and sublime automobile-focused film. Cars and drivers, present as subplots in Tati's previous comedies, take center stage in Traffic. In his latest incarnation, Hulot is a vehicle designer at the Parisian firm Altra. Having recently completed the prototype for a Rube Goldberg mousetrap-like ultra convenient camper van, Hulot and Altra's pesky public relations girl, Maria (Maria Kimberly), embark to bring their newest creation to an auto show in Holland. The eagle eye of Tati's airtight humor follows Hulot on his doomed path to Amsterdam; he runs out of gas, has various accidents and engine difficulties, and invokes the wrath of both the police and customs officers. Interspersed between gags are seemingly documentary visions of French motorists picking their noses, being mimicked by their own windshield wipers, and generally causing trouble. Minimal dialogue, spectacular visual puns, and an awe-inspiring ballet-like car crash complete the Tati take on car-and-driver culture.
Available on DVD from Amazon.com.
At Alliance Française on Friday, August 7: Indochine / Indochina (1992) by Régis Wargnier – 160 mins – France, Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 63 out of 100. This is the uncut version. 1993 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
With Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Perez, Jean Yanne, Linh Dan Pham.
Indochina during the 30's. One of the largest rubber-tree plantations is owned by the French colonist Eliane, a proud but imprudent woman. She lives with her father and her native adoptive daughter Camille. At an auction Eliane gets to know the young officer Jean-Baptiste; after a short affair she refuses to see him again. But in the meantime Camille falls deeply in love with the young man, so Eliane takes the necessary steps to cause a transposition of Jean-Baptiste onto a far island. Though Camille gets married to another man, she goes on a long journey throughout the country in order to find the one she loves…
– Alliance description
Rotten Tomatoes Synopsis: Romantic melodrama set during French colonial rule in Vietnam from 1930-1954. French national Eliane thinks of Vietnam as home: she owns a rubber plantation there, and has adopted Camille, the Vietnamese child of Eliane's deceased friends. But mother and daughter are soon at odds over both romance and politics: Camille has fallen for French naval officer Jean-Baptiste, who was once Eliane's lover, and has also become a revolutionary determined to destroy the French-run government. Tensions deepen when authorities sentence Camille to a French labor camp, and Eliane takes charge of Jean-Baptiste and Camille's baby. As time passes, it becomes clear that France's reign in Vietnam will soon end -- leaving mother, daughter, and grandchild on different sides of the ideological issue...
DVD available from Amazon.com.
At Alliance Française on Friday, August 14: Pépé le Moko (1937) by Julien Duvivier – 94 mins – France, Crime/ Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. B&W. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 86 out of 100.
With Jean Gabin, Mireille Balin, Gabriel Gabrio, Marcel Dalio,Fernand Charpin, Line Noro.
“Pépéle Moko”, a famous gangster chased by the police of Algiers hides in the Kasbah… One night, after a fight between his men and the police, Pépé, slightly injured takes refuge in a house where he meets a young woman, Gasy…
– Alliance description
A notorious gangster hides out in the Casbah for safety and soon realizes he's a prisoner, unable to ever leave its confines. He becomes obsessed with a beautiful outsider, and this attachment ultimately leads to his doom. Based on D'Ashelbe's novel and remade in America as "Algiers."
San Diego Metropolitan: It's not just an important film; it's also great entertainment, a compelling screen romance -- and one of the best places to see hunky Jean Gabin at the height of his career.