Thursday, March 18, 2010

Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm


The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon."A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.


At Alliance Française on Friday, March 19, 8 pm:  Le silence est d'or / Silence is Golden / Man About Town (1947) written and directed by René Clair – 100 mins -- Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. In Black and White. English subtitles.


With Maurice Chevalier, François Perier, Dany Robin.


A witty comedy set in the beginning of the century among silent movie actors...

– Alliance description


Even in 1947, Clair's belated Valentine to the silent period, one of his few memorable postwar films, was so deliciously passé in style as almost to pass for an example of the work to which it pays wistful tribute. With Chevalier (whose heavily accented delivery sounds decidedly odd in French) as an ageing boulevardier, Périer as his youthful nemesis, and Dany Robin as the midinette who comes between them, the plot is pure convention, but the gentle humor and wealth of period detail (from both the turn of the century and the '40s) have an enduring charm., James Travers: The film that marked René Clair’s long-awaited return to French cinema after his brief "exile" in the United States, Le silence est d’oris widely regarded as one of his best works, and probably his most touching.   The conflict between the stirrings of the heart and the constraints of loyalty, the age-old dilemma of love versus friendship, is a theme which Clair tackles competently in a film that is ceaselessly entertaining.

The film benefits from a very good script, with some genuinely funny lines, some commendable acting performances, and some excellent sets.  The shots of Paris in the 1920s are so detailed, so convincing that, having seen films of this period, one could easily imagine that the film had been made during that era.  There are some great comic situations, with a few moments of farce.  Fortunately, the comedy is kept under control, so that it adds to the mood of the film without harming the integrity of the central plot, the tragic love triangle between Emile, Jacques and Madeleine.

The film’s star, Maurice Chevalier, is on fine form and shows what a great acting talent the man was, an aspect of his career that is often sadly overshadowed by his legendary status as one of France’s greatest cabaret singers.  Whilst it is largely a comic performance, Chevalier manages to bring a touch of sadness and humanity to the part which, in the last few minutes of the film, is genuinely moving.



At Alliance Française on Friday, March 26, 8 pm: Mr. Klein (1976) by Joseph Losey 123 mins France/ Italy, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller/ War. English subtitles.


With Alain Delon, Michel Lonsdale, Jeanne Moreau, Juliette Bert, Massimo Girotti, Suzanne Flon.


In occupied France during the Second World War,an antique collector of Alsatian descent, Mr. Klein, is mistakenly taken for a Jew and mercilessly tracked down by the Gestapo…

– Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes: Alain Delon stars as the eponymous protagonist in Joseph Losey's first French film, Mr. Klein. Living a posh life amid the chaos and turmoil of Nazi-occupied Paris, Mr. Klein makes his living buying art at cutthroat rates from desperate Jews fleeing the country. When a Jewish newspaper is mistakenly addressed to him, Klein learns of the existence of another, Jewish Mr. Klein. Klein reports the irregularity to the police, only to find himself further implicated in intrigue and danger. Embarking on a desperate search for his namesake, Klein visits his apartment and intercepts a secret invitation, bringing him into contact with the other Klein's world--and lover (played by Jeanne Moreau). Sinking into a paranoid fervor, Klein becomes a detective, searching for any evidence of the other Klein's whereabouts. As the Nazis close in and his double continues to elude him, the very name Mr. Klein, echoing sinisterly throughout the film, becomes a talisman of fear and panicked guilt. The secret societies and poisoned atmosphere of Vichy France come to life as Mr. Klein's Kafkaesque nightmare leads him unwittingly into a startled appreciation of the plight of the persecuted. Losey's restrained direction matched with Delon's emotive presence combine to create a powerful psychological and moral thriller. 

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