At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
The Alliance Française is currently featuring the work of Alain Resnais.
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 Baz Luhrman'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 assistance of her new lover, a real estate agent. Azema not only finds living space through the agency, but romance as well.
University of Wisconsin Cinematheque: Resnais' first international blockbuster is a musical comedy about life, love, and Parisian real estate that features snippets from more than 30 hit songs. Its characters seamlessly transition from speaking in the voices of the actors portraying them to singing in the voices of major French entertainers, from Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier to Johnny Hallyday and Serge Gainsbourg.
At Alliance Française on Friday, December 18: Cœurs / Private Fears in Public Places (2006) by Alain Resnais – 121 mins – France/ Italy, Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 77/72 out of 100.
With Pierre Arditi, Lambert Wilson, André Dussolier, Isabelle Carré, Sabine Azéma, Laura Morante, Bruno Podalydès.
In the swirling snow of the French National Library district in Paris, six characters strive to fill their empty lives. Two estate agents, a former soldier and his wife, a barman, a young woman and an old invalid try to escape the black cloud that threatens to descend...
– Alliance description
Rotten Tomatoes: Nominated for eight César awards in its native France, Private Fears In Public Places is an intelligent, adult look at loneliness in the twenty-first century. Directed by French master Alain Resnais, the film examines the interrelated lives of six main characters who are trying desperately but failing at making real, long-lasting connections. Charlotte (a bewitching Sabine Azéma) is a Bible-reading real estate agent who takes care of Lionel's (Pierre Arditi) vile, ailing father at night. Thierry (André Dussollier), a coworker of Charlotte's, is showing apartments to Nicole (Laura Morante) and Dan (Lambert Wilson), an engaged couple who can't agree on anything. And Gaëlle (Isabelle Carré), who lives with Thierry, her older brother, is looking for love through the personal ads but instead keeps coming home alone. Based on the play by Alan Ayckbourn, Private Fears In Public Places is beautifully shot by Eric Gautier, particularly the scenes in the colorful bar where Lionel works and Dan drinks away his frustrations. Scenes are linked together by falling snow, adding a chilling cold to the pervasive loneliness. The acting is uniformly excellent, with especially good turns from Azéma, Arditi, and Morante, who won the Francesco Pasinetti Best Actress award at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, which also awarded octogenarian Resnais the Silver Lion as Best Director. Resnais eschews modern technology in this carefully stylized world; the characters don't spend their time endlessly on computers and cell phones, and Charlotte even gives Thierry a videotape to watch, one that has been taped over many times yet still retains some of its previous recordings, as if parts of the past can never be erased.
Consensus: The premise isn't anything new, but director Alain Resnais' attention to detail and smooth camerawork gives this movie a delicate edge.
At Alliance Française on Friday, December 25: Holiday! No screening.