Backstage (shown below) or her latest endeavor, The Long Falling, the new film from Seraphine writer/
director Martin Provost, that I hope will get some sort of U.S. theatrical release soon. Still, despite our fondest hopes, a month can only hold four or five Tuesdays, and so we must content ourselves with what is available here. (As it is, FIAF is squeezing six movies into four Tuesdays.)
Beau Travail (below). This program, in fact, curated by the inexhaustible Marie Losier, is titled The Beau Travail of Agnès Godard. Following the 7pm screening will be a Q&A with Godard and filmmaker/critic/writer Kent Jones.
Florence Gould Hall in Manhattan. Information on each of the six films can be found further below, while that on procuring tickets and directions to the hall itself can be found at the end of this post.
La Fémis, France’s preeminent film school. She began her career as an assistant camera operator on films by Wim Wenders, Joseph Losey, Peter Greenaway, and Alain Resnais. She worked as a camera operator on Claire Denis’ lauded debut feature Chocolat (above, from 1988), and has been Denis’ regular cinematographer since 1990, when the two worked together on a documentary about nouvelle vague filmmaker Jacques Rivette. Two of their collaborations are featured in the retrospective, which surveys twenty years of Godard’s career.
The Village Voice, “I don’t like feeling like a voyeur. The most inexhaustible landscapes for me remain faces and bodies: I like to look at people, to look at them in order to love them. It’s like dancing with someone, except with a camera you don’t touch them. I just want to tell them that I’d like to put my hand on them.” (The photo above is from Claire Denis' 35 Shots of Rum; the one below is from Catherine Corsini's Leaving.)
Golden Door (Nuovomondo)
Tuesday, October 4 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
by Emanuele Crialese, 2006. Color. 118 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Francesco Casisa
In Italian, English, and French with English subtitles
For TM's money one of the most beautiful films ever made, Golden Door is a must-see, and particularly for the chance to see on it on the big screen. In it, Ms Godard achieves the kind of subtle "special effects" that are actualy rather staggering. The movie is about immigration to the U.S. but it handles this subject in a manner unlike almost any other film I can think of. In its glorious merging of content and style, Golden Door comes across as just about perfect. (My original review of the film for GreenCine appears here.)
I Can't Sleep (J’ai pas sommeil)
Tuesday, October 11 at 12:30 & 4pm
by Claire Denis, 1994. Color. 110 min.
With Yekaterina Golubeva, Richard Courcet, Vincent Dupont, Laurent Grévill
Godard’s debut collaboration with Denis is a potent realization of the real-life couple who murdered more than twenty women in 1980s Paris. As filtered through the impressions of a young Lithuanian (Golubeva), the killings form a shocking introduction to the normally revered city. Denis’ trademark languid style and pacing flourish throughout.
In TM's view this is one of Denis' strongest and most shocking films in its juxtaposition of horror and everyday life. It goes deeper than the mere "banality of evil" into a place that questions our very humanity and comes up with no easy answers.
“Directed by the idiosyncratic, intelligent, strong-willed Claire Denis…it calmly lures viewers into an ordinary world where the sinister and the benign wear the same face…With its slow, undramatic treatment of a subject usually made explosive, sensational and easy, it is a strong addition to [Denis’] underrated career.”—The New York Times
Meet the Director of Cinematography: Agnès Godard,
following the screening of Beau travail
Tuesday, October 11 at 7pm
by Claire Denis, 1999. Color. 92 min.
With Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Richard Courcet
Many would call Beau Travail Denis’ masterpiece, thanks in no small part to Godard’s hypnotic depiction of Djibouti, which won her a César for Best Cinematography. As a Foreign Legionnaire (Levant) reflects on his career, the commander he devoted himself to, and the fractious, jealous relationship he developed with a young soldier, that continue to pierce his memory.
This is nowhere near TM's favorite Denis film nor, he thinks, does it reflect Godard's best work. It's content hardly merits its running time, and it struck me as more than a little obvious on all fronts. But since everyone and his uncle seems to love the film, I guess you should see it, if you have not already done so.
“Claire Denis’ finest film to date…The visually spellbinding movie depicts their rigorous drills and rituals as ecstatic rites of purification and the embodiment of an impenetrable masculine mystique…Not to be missed.” —The New York Times
“…Beau Travail might be their most spectacular accomplishment, a model of symbiosis between director and cinematographer.”—The Village Voice
Tuesday, October 18 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
by Ursula Meier, 2008. Color. 97 min.
with Isabelle Huppert, Olivier Gourmet, Adélaïde Leroux, Madeleine Budd
An interesting film on every level, this one also shows Godard in her subtle but surprising mode. A peaceful, remote way of life is interrupted when a family’s property is encroached upon by the construction of a nearby highway. The intrusion of industry upends their tranquility, and each person’s limits are pushed beyond their breaking points. Intensely emotional performances by Huppert and Gourmet anchor the film.
“Both the natural-sounding dialogue and Agnѐs Godard’s camerawork seem to generate from the characters organically, which keeps them fully human.”—The New York Times
“Confident, appealingly bizarre…working with all-star DP Agnès Godard, Meier effectively communicates the sense of upended privacy.”—The Village Voice
Jacquot de Nantes
Tuesday, October 25 at 12:30 & 4pm
by Agnès Varda, 1991. Color and B&W. 118 min.
with Philippe Maron, Edouard Joubeaud, Laurent Monnier, Brigitte De Villepoix
Varda’s elegiac, intensely personal tribute to her husband (and legendary director) Jacques Demy—made just one year after his passing—simply could not have been made by anyone else. Combining home footage from his youth with clips from his films, Jacquot de Nantes is as uncategorizable as it is moving.
“Extremely evocative…an engrossing, moving tribute.”—Time Out Film Guide
The Dreamlife of Angels (La vie rêvée des Anges)
Tuesday, October 25 at 7:30pm
by Erick Zonca, 1998. Color. 113 min.
with Élodie Bouchez, Natacha Régnier, Grégoire Colin, Patrick Mercado
Winner of three César awards and the Best Actress award at Cannes (shared by Bouchez and Régnier), Dreamlife is an affecting portrait of two young working class women struggling to find meaning in life. A surprising kinship evolves as they explore the hardship, buoyancy, and determination that has brought them to this turning point.
“This impassioned first feature by Erick Zonca reveals a soulful, moving vision of our shared responsibility for one another's lives…as raw and immediate as it is heartfelt.”—The New York Times
FIAF's mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. www.fiaf.org
FIAF would like to extend a special thanks to Agnès Godard, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and NYU’s Maison Française.
CinémaTuesdays is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.
FIAF's Florence Gould Hall is located at 55 East 59th Street
(between Park and Madison Avenues)
$10; $7 students; Free for FIAF Members ($2 in advance)
fiaf.org | 800 982 2787
fiaf.org | 212 355 6160
Subway - 4, 5, 6, N, R and Q 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