At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
The Alliance Française is currently featuring the work of Alain Resnais.
At Alliance Française on Friday, November 27: Stavisky... (1974) by Alain Resnais – 120 mins – France/ Italy, Crime/ Drama. English subtitles. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 83 out of 100.
With Jean-Paul Belmondo, François Périer, Anny Duperey, Michael Lonsdale, Claude Rich, Charles Boyer.
France, July 1933. Leon Trotsky secretly arrives in Cassis. The French government has granted him political asylum. At the same time, Serge Alexandre, a.k.a. Stavisky, is rocking the Parisian political and financial scene with his many dealings squandering millions...
– Alliance description
Rotten Tomatoes: Director Alain Resnais' Stavisky... is a stylized recounting of the life of Alexandre Stavisky, a masterful swindler who sold thousands of worthless bonds, working his way into a massive financial hole and drowning in a riotous political scandal. The film focuses on his heyday, which came in the years just before his arrest and subsequent death in 1934. Surrounded by an aristocratic class of financiers who, like Stavisky, delighted in transferring enormous sums among a multitude of accounts around Europe, he was an expert at moving money. Stavisky inhabited the lavish wooden parlors and grandiose theaters of Paris, the ocean overpasses and casinos of Biarritz, with sexy cars, planes, and women to get him from place to place. The delectably glossy filming of Stavisky..., like its dialogue, is sharp, pointed, tightly framed, and complex. Every scene contains a lingering spatial depth and a feeling of weighted drama, colored by flashbacks and dream sequences that are rendered with fragile grace. All the while, a narrator who watches through binocular lenses follows the subtle subplots of Stavisky's love affairs, sporting affairs, and legal affairs. When Stavisky is arrested in the middle of a dinner party (reminiscent of Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad with red wine spilled dramatically across the white tablecloth and a bejeweled woman in a cocktail dress careening through the air like a wounded bird), the ugly end is near. A thumping musical score from Stephen Sondheim completes this masterwork, sprinkling it with noirish spice.
At Alliance Française on Friday, December 4: Mon oncle d'Amérique / My American Uncle (1980) by Alain Resnais– 125 mins – France, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 81 out of 100.
With Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre, Marie Dubois, Nelly Borgeaud, Pierre Arditi.
Three intersecting paths: a journalist, news editor for a radio station, a farmer’s son turned textile factory manager, and a working class girl drawn to the theatre and fashion … all under the scientific gaze of Professor Henri Laborit…
– Alliance description
Rotten Tomatoes: Alain Resnais' Mon oncle d'Amérique may be the best all-around display of the director's unique narrative and photographic techniques. The film begins with still photographs appearing on the screen as a narrator gives a quick biography of each of the three characters in the movie: Jean, Janine, and René. They are presented first in their childhood: a picture of Jean collecting clams, a picture of Janine reciting poetry to her family, and a picture of René in his farm overalls. Then each character introduces him- or herself in young adulthood, and the film rolls as they take turns narrating their own biographies. From there, with frequent interruptions by Professor Henri Laborit, the psychiatrist who takes over as an external narrator, the film assumes the traditional third-person approach to its three subjects, following them as they marry and separate, have affairs, suffer, rejoice, have children, find success, fail miserably, and eventually meet each other. All the while, the psychiatrist-narrator adds fabulously absurd but simultaneously poignant existential explanations for why these characters do what they do. Mon oncle d'Amérique is a film in which everything has meaning. Every action, every word, each gesture, color, and feeling plays into the explanations of the psychiatrist. Thus, as the narrator explains the story, the same scenes roll several times, adding a touch of good-natured comedy to this sophisticated film.
At Alliance Française on Friday, December 11: On connaît la chanson / Same Old Song (1997) by Alain Resnais – 120 mins – France/ Switzerland/ UK, Comedy/ Drama/ Musical. English subtitles. Reviews: Generally favorable: 64 out of 100.
With Pierre Arditi, Sabine Azéma, André Dussolier, Jean Pierre Bacri, Jane Birkin, Agnès Jaoui, Lambert Wilson, Jean Pierre Darroussi.
In Paris, six characters get caught up in a web of romantic and social confusion combined with mounting misunderstandings, which force them to face their own truth. And each of them expresses their emotions through songs old and new …
– Alliance description
Rotten Tomatoes: Four years before BazLuhrman'sMoulin Rouge, Alain Resnais made this musical love story using contemporary pop songs. The songs are used in a style similar to Moulin Rouge as they are the portal through which the innermost feelings of love are released. Characters lip-sync to popular tunes of the day to express their emotional states. Each character is also assigned a song that acts as an anthem for them in this clever musical comedy. The story involves a Parisian woman (Sabine Azema) desperately in search of a more spacious apartment. Her sister offers the assistant of her new lover, a real estate agent. Azema not only finds living space through the agency, but romance as well.