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Archive: Spring 2007

French Cinema In The 1960s

French Cinema of the postwar era is marked by the work of cinephilic young directors, films that departed from earlier modes of French filmmaking. Many of these filmmakers wrote for the Cahiers du Cinéma as film critics/theorists and their film work arguably demonstrated their love for Classical Hollywood genres just as their films simultaneously and reflexively reworked these forms and practices to new ends. In keeping with our ‘youth, ‘change, ‘rebellion’ motifs for Spring Quarter we are showcasing three French films from the 1960s: Jacques Demy’s visually stunning musical about young love in wartime, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Jean-Luc Godard’s noir-influenced masterpiece about an ill-fated romance, Breathless; and Godard’s iconic heist film Band of Outsiders.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Thursday, May 1 • 7pm

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

In the innovative film The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy pays loving homage to the Hollywood musical as well as the French melodrama. The film is shot in Cherbourg, France, using inventive cinematography and blazing colors and textures. Local life is rendered in pink, orange, green, and blue. Wallpapers and umbrella patterns, sweaters and hats, cars and gas stations—each element of the film contributes to the exuberant color and exalted mood. The fertile collaboration between Demy and legendary French composer Michel Legrand reaches its climax in the light opera structure and lilting and memorable songs that make up the plot. Catherine Deneuve is the fresh and beautiful 16-year-old Genevieve, pining away in her mother’s umbrella shop. When she falls in love with the charming local auto mechanic, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), worlds collide. For 20 years, the film was only available in faded prints. However, a three-strip negative print was discovered in an archive and Jaques Demy’s widow, Agnes Varda, had the movie restored with funding provided by the French Ministry of Culture.— cduniverse

Directed by Jacques Demy
1964, France/West Germany • 91 minutes • 35mm
In French with English subtitles

 

Band of Outsiders
Thursday, May 15 • 7pm

Band of Outsiders

Two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of their desire (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery—in her own home. French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard takes to the streets of Paris to re-imagine the gangster genre, spinning an audacious yarn that’s at once sentimental and insouciant, romantic and melancholy. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the convention-flauting postmodern classic Band of Outsiders (Bande à part). – www.criterion.com

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
1964, France • 97 minutes • 35mm
In French with English subtitles


Breathless
Friday, May 16 • 7pm

Breathless

There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, crackling personalities of rising stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and anything-goes crime narrative, Jean-Luc Godard’s debut fashioned a simultaneous homage to and critique of the American film genres that influenced and rocked him as a film writer for Cahiers du cinema. Jazzy, free-form, and sexy, Breathless helped launch the French new wave and ensured cinema would never be the same. – criterion.com

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
1960, France • 90 minutes • 16mm
In French with English subtitles


 

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