Tuesday, August 24, 2010

BAM fetes, for the next three Wednesdays, the increasingly durable Romain Duris; hot star will appear in person for an intro/Q&A

Last night at a press screening, TrustMovies introduced his 30-something daughter to French actor Romain Duris. On film, that is: She hadn't previously encountered his work.  Of course, she was smitten, as have been so many moviegoers around the world.  How can you resist this handsome, scruffy, usually unkempt young man with those big, dark eyes that seem to deepen as you look into them, who can handle comedy as adeptly as drama -- and who is even unafraid to show full-frontal, whenever disrobing is called for.

It was La Vie en Rose director Olivier Dahan who gave Duris his start back in 1994 in a film called Frères: La roulette rouge (unreleased here in the US) and again in 1998 in the more successful Déjà mort (also unseen here). But it was Cédric Klapisch, more than any other director, who brought the actor to international attention. Kapisch used him first in 1994 in Le péril jeune (aka: Good Old Daze), then in When the Cat's Away (1996), in Peut-être (from 1999, unreleased in the U.S) and then gave Duris his international breakout role in L'auberge espagnole and its follow-up Russian Dolls, and finally as the centerpiece of his 2008 Paris.

The actor has also been used well by Christophe Honoré (In Paris), Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, a photo from which is shown above), Tony Gatlif (The Crazy StrangerExiles and the little-seen Je suis né d'une cigogne), Benoît Jacquot (Adolphe), Laurent Tirard (Molière) and even James Ivory (in the greatly under-appreciated Le Divorce). In fact, the only time I've seen Duris used poorly was in the Patrice Chéreau misfire Persécution -- and even then the actor manages to make some sense in an otherwise befuddling movie.

Now, one of New York's indispensible repertory houses BAMcinématek will use the next three Wednesday evenings to screen five of the actor's film, beginning tomorrow night August 25, with his newest  to reach us: Heartbreaker (L'Arnacoeur, photo above), a sublime example of one of the things the French do best -- romantic comedy with an edge (sometimes a number of them).  I'll have more to say about this funny and appealing film around the time it opens theatrically in NYC and L.A. on September 10th.

Also in this series will be Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Honoré's Dans Paris, and Klapisch's When The Cat's Away and Le péril jeune (photo above) --  the latter of which constitutes the real "find" of this group, having not been shown in the US except back in 1995 at the VCU French Film Festival in Richmond ,VA.

Meanwhile, you can peruse the entire five-film BAM/Romain Duris schedule here. Further, should you want to catch a glimpse of (or maybe even say hi to) Duris and/or Heartbreaker's director Pascal Chaumeil, both will be appearing in person at BAMcinématek for a Q&A moderated by film critic Charles Taylor at tomorrow's (Wed., 8/25) 6:50pm screening of Heartbreaker.  Duris will then stick around until the 9:30 showing of The Beat That My Heart Skipped, at which time he'll introduce that film, as well. Click here to learn how to reach BAM by bus, subway, car, phone, email....

(Photos are from the films credited, except for the 
three stills of Duris, cribbed from the web -- and  for which 
I could find no accreditation. If the photographers 
will tell me, I'll be glad to credit them and link to their sites.)

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