Films on the Green, New York City's favorite outdoor film festival -- of free French movies all summer long -- opens its eighth annual series this Friday evening, May 29, in Central Park with a landmark film that lifted a certain French sexpot named Brigitte Bardot (below and above, right, with a very young Jean-Louis Trintignant) to international acclaim, while taking her director, Roger Vadim, along for the ride -- for awhile.
Greencine.com, and then yearly on this blog. Each summer the festival -- hosted by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, FACE Foundation and the City of New York Parks & Recreation -- chooses a wide array of films from various decades (this year's includes the 1930s, 50s, 60s, and post-Millennium, of quite varied content and styles that show off French cinema to fine advantage. The dates are Friday evenings, beginning May 29 through July 31, with a final screening on September 10. Locations range from Central Park to Riverside Park, Tompkins Square Park, Washington Square Park, Columbia University, and Transmitter Park (in Brooklyn).
Duvivier's Pepe Le Moko, as well as one of the great French comedies of recent years -- Priceless (above) by the ever under-valued Pierre Salvadori -- plus three movies completely new to me that I can't wait to view: Goha (1958), La Derive (1963) and Zarafa (2012). And that's only little more than half of what's in store.There's a Rohmer (two photos up), Sandrine Bonnaire (below) in one of her best roles, and some first-class animation.
…AND GOD CREATED WOMAN (Et Dieu créa la Femme)
Directed by Roger Vadim with Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Curt Jürgens
1956 | Romance | PG | 1h35
Juliette is a seductive young woman with an unbridled appetite for pleasure. She attracts the attention of all of St. Tropez, including the wealthy Eric Carradine, Antoine Tardieu, and his sweet yet naïve brother, Michel, who all fight for her indecisive heart.
PÉPÉ LE MOKO
By Julien Duvivier with Jean Gabin, Mireille Balin, Marcel Dalio
1937 | Crime | UR | 1h33
The notorious Pépé le Moko is a wanted man. In the labyrinthine Casbah of Algiers, Pépé is safe from the clutches of the police. But his clandestine life is unveiled when Gaby, a Parisian playgirl, compels him to risk his life and leave his past behind.
Rémi Bezançon & Jean-Christophe Lie
2012 | Animation | Ages 7 & up | 1h18
Presented in partnership with the Poitou-Charentes Region and the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Beneath a baobab tree, an old man tells the story of Maki, a young boy who crosses the desert with his giraffe and a Bedouin nomad named Hassan. During the epic journey from Africa to Paris, which takes them through Alexandria and the bustling port of Marseilles, Maki and his companions meet countless exotic characters.
QUEEN TO PLAY (Joueuse)
By Caroline Bottaro with Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline
2009 | Drama | UR | 1h37
Presented in partnership with the Collectivité Territoriale de Corse, Institut Français and Corsica Pôle Tournages.
The lovely, repressed and quietly intelligent chambermaid Hélène comes upon a couple engaging in an intense chess match, and discovers she has a knack for the game. This obsession–much to the chagrin of her family– leads her to seek the clandestine tutelage of a reclusive American doctor, a liaison that radically transforms both of their lackluster lives.
By Eric Rohmer with Patrick Bauchau, Haydée Politoff, Daniel Pommereulle
1967 | Romance | UR | 1h29
Adrien, a bombastic, womanizing art dealer and Daniel, his painter friend, go to a seventeenth-century villa on the French Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian temptress Haydée.
THE RABBI’S CAT (Le Chat du Rabbin)
By Joann Sfar & Antoine Delesvaux
2011 | Animation | UR | 1h29
Presented in partnership with the Columbia Maison Française.
Algiers, 1920s: Rabbi Sfar has more than one problem. His beautiful daughter Zlabya is transforming into a teenager, and even worse, his parrot-killing cat has just started talking. The Rabbi’s life grows all the more complicated when a box arrives from Russia with a painter inside. Ultimately Rabbi Sfar ends up on a quest for a hidden tribe and its mythical city of origin in Africa.