Friday, February 12, 2010

Gainsbourg fest continues at FIAF with LOVER; only three more movies left!

The French Institute/Alliance Francaise (FIAF) tribute to and retrospective of the work of British/French film star Charlotte Gainsbourg, shown at right, continues apace. Earlier this week TrustMovies caught one of her more interesting and highly sexual outtings,  Lover (Amoreuse).  Many of her films feature cutting edge sexuality, whether represented visually (along with ultra-violence, as in the current AntiChrist) or philosophically and visually, as in Amoreuse.

Directed by Jacques Doillon (shown below), Amoreuse follows the "adventures" of a young woman, attracted to two different men, who tries to be morally consistent and genuine but manages only to fail pretty miserably.  The men fare no better, though the wiser of the two (played by Yvan Attal, Ms Gainsbrough's main squeeze over the past decade) I think retains his sanity and perhaps his self-respect. The other fellow, the lithe and lovely Thomas Langmann, offers such a case of the jealous jitters throughout that you fear for his (and the relationship's) future.

Gainsbourg is her usual, pert, boyish and delightful self.  I can think of few actresses who are not raging beauties who mange to offer the camera as much charisma as does Charlotte.  In thinking about her many movies, it's as though she is but one single character in them all (except maybe the fine verison of Jane Eyre she did with William Hurt).  But that single character grows and learns and changes, while expressing so much variation that she never begins to bore us (not even in the travesty that is AntiChrist).

Early in Amoreuse, when her lover returns from a trip, so delighted is she that she simply lifts him off the ground and carries him across the room (Langmann is slim enough that she can do this), and what a few memorably charming moments this makes.  In time her character begins to look like a kind of femme fatale.  "I can't fuck you after he's been inside you," the Langmann character notes of the Attal character's recent incursion. "Your womb is poisoned."  You don't get this sort of  dialog in American-made drama, comedy or sex movies -- a template for all of which is found in Amoreuse.

In the next two weeks you'll have the chance to see the following three Gainsbourg films.  I'd advise a visit.  Maybe several.

February 16 at 4pm
Directed by Claude Miller, 1985. Color. 96 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Clothilde Baudon, Bernadette Laffont, Jean-Claude Brialy
Note: No English subtitles

Winner of the Prix Louis-Delluc, L’Effrontée earned Gainsbourg the “Most Promising Actress” César for this, her first starring role. As a teenager in rural France, Charlotte (Gainsbourg) is frustrated and bored with home life. But a young pianist upends her world with talk of opportunity elsewhere, far from her family.  (Lovely, smart early work from both Ms Gainsbourg and director Claude Miller, who last year gave a us A Secret.  A must.: TM)

Charlotte for Ever
February 16 at 12:30 & 7:30pm
Directed by Serge Gainsbourg, 1986. Color. 94 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Serge Gainsbourg, Roland Bertin, Roland Dubillard
Note: This film contains R-rated material

A rare, not-to-be-missed screening of this notorious and misunderstood film. Serge Gainsbourg wrote, directed, and starred in this dark and fascinating tale of a screenwriter grieving over his wife’s unexpected death. Suicidal, he turns for affection to the only remaining link to his wife—his daughter.  (This is another that TM hopes to see -- and cover.)

Kung-fu master!
February 23 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Agnès Varda, 1988. Color. 80 min.
With Jane Birkin, Mathieu Demy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lou Doillon

Mary-Jane (Birkin), a divorced mother of two, grows close to a teenage boy she met at her daughter’s party. Through conversations, vacations, and video games, the pair’s relationship evolves in a way that confuses their families and even themselves. Varda’s empathetic direction anchors this delicate, but often powerful story.  (This film is another that TM intends to view and cover.)

About FIAF
FIAF, a not-for-profit organization created in 1898 by American Francophiles, is one of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the United States, widely known as the home of New York’s foremost French language school, the leading all-French library in the country, and New York’s only performing arts center dedicated to French and Francophone culture. FIAF is dedicated to encouraging interaction and better understanding between French-speaking and American communities by creating programs in the arts and education that promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture.

CinémaTuesdays is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Special thanks to MK2.

FIAF presents CinémaTuesdays: Charlotte Forever
Times and titles detailed above.
FIAF - Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street
(between Park and Madison Avenues)
$10; $7 students; Free for FIAF Members
Tickets: | 212 307 4100
Information: | 212 355 6160
Subway - 4, 5, 6, N, R and W to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue;

F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Avenue

Bus - M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street

Photo of Ms Gainsbourg courtesy of
Photo of Jacques Doillon by Jeff Vespa, courtesy of

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