Monday, October 25, 2010

French Films at RPL

During November and December, we'll be co-sponsoring the Film for Lunch French Film Series with the James River Film Society. Thursdays at noon, you're invited to enjoy a selection of early French films from five of the most important directors working in France during the late silent and early sound eras. The movies will be shown on the big screen in the auditorium using a 16 mm projector. Films will be in French with English subtitles, and hopefully there will be a lively post-screening discussion of each movie.

Admission is FREE , so pack a lunch and join us in the auditorium of the Main Library on the following Thursdays at 12 pm:

November 4: A Nous la Liberte (Freedom is Ours)

(Dir: Rene Clair, 1931, sound 87 mins.)
A satiric look at capitalism, friendship, and life on the assembly-line, and arguably Clair's best film. The plot has an escaped convict becoming a wealthy industrialist, only to be found out by an ex-prison mate with ultimately both hitting the road as carefree vagabonds. This film is the reputed inspiration for Chaplin's Modern Times.

November 11: L'Age d'Or (The Golden Age) & La Coquille et le Clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman)
(Dir: Luis Bunuel, 1930, silent, 63 mins.)
(Dir: Germaine Dulac, 1928, silent, 43 mins. )
A surrealist double bill! Bunuel's first film after Un Chien Andalou is a hilarious romp over the tenets of Western Civilization, while Dulac's film is a dream-take on religion and sexual repression.

November 18: L'Atalante (The Atalante)

(Dir: Jean Vigo, 1934, sound, 87 mins.)
One of the loveliest films of the Poetic Realist years and a tale of love's fragility. When a girl from the provices marries a barge captain, her dreams of romance and Paris are grounded by their daily, endless tasks on board. Lyrical and poetic, at times grittily realistic, photographed by Boris Kaufman (Academy winner for On the Waterfront), with the great actor Michel Simon as Pere Jules. New Wave director Frances Truffaut hailed it a masterpiece!

December 2: Zero de Conduite (Zero for Conduct) & Une Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country)
(Dir: Jean Vigo, 1933, sound, 56 mins.)
(Dir: Jean Renoir, 1936, sound, 44 mins.)
A double feature! Vigo's irreverent fable of student revolt in a boarding school -- the greatest pillow fight of all time! -- has inspired films like If, Rock 'n Roll High School, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Renoir's A Day in the Country is an homage to the Impressionists (of which his father, Pierre August, was one), adapted from two Maupassant stories and not released until 1946 because of the occupation and then the war. A story of unrequited love, set in a quiet country inn (Renoir plays the proprietor), delicately and lovingly told by France's greatest director.

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