Monday, January 18, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg festival/retrospective opens at New York City's FIAF

TrustMovies is remiss in not covering the terrific ongoing retrospective/
festival of films starring French/British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (above, left) -- the daughter of France’s mythical couple, pop sensation and provocateur Serge Gainsbourg, and British actress and singer Jane Birkin. 

Presented by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and taking place each Tuesday from January 12 (yeah, last week) through February 23, the series will include  the New York premiere of Persécution (2009), one of Ms Gainsbourg's latest films.  While I've seen many of the movies in the series (all of which are worth your time), there are several I still need want to catch -- Persécution, for instance -- and will report on here.  

Charlotte Forever is the fest's title (taken from a phrase and film-title delivered by the actress' equally famous father: “Charlotte For Ever and forever in my heart.”  And while you can still catch Ms Gainsbourg in one of the year's worst (but most-talked-about-on-the-fest-circuit) films -- AntiChrist -- I'd advise instead a look at the actress in any of the films below.
The venue is FIAF · Florence Gould Hall; 55 East 59th Street, NYC,and  below is the complete listing features and times.  My comments are in italic , with TM following them.

Charlotte Forever

The Science of Sleep (La Science des Rêves)
January 12 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm (yes, it's over, but if you missed it, it's available for rental on DVD: TM)
Directed by Michel Gondry. 2006. Color. 105 min.
With Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat

Gorgeously inventive and achingly human, Gondry’s third feature finds him exploring memory, imagination, and love in his inimitable style. Stephane (García Bernal) spends his days in an office and his evenings tinkering with homemade gadgets—and at all times, he pines for his neighbor, Stephanie (Gainsbourg). A film full of extraordinary reveries.

“Sweet, crazy, and tinged with sadness…a wondrous concoction.”—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

My Wife Is an Actress (Ma femme est une actrice)
January 19 at 12:30 pm, 4 and 7:30

Directed by Yvan Attal, 2001. Color. 95 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Terence Stamp and Noémie Lvovsky

Gainsbourg and Attal, married in real life, are immensely charming as an onscreen couple in this shrewd comedy aimed at celebrity and romance. A journalist adores his actress wife, but is sent into a neurotic panic when she is cast as the love interest of a debonair international star.  (This one is loads of fun and has some worthwhile things to say about celebrity and acting: TM)

“What gives My Wife Is An Actress its extra juice is the natural energy exchange between the spirited real-life couple, who conjure the sort of credibly warm interplay that is hard to fake and probably harder to reproduce in front of a camera.”—L.A. Times

*Special Sneak Preview Screening*
Monday, January 25 at 7pm
Patrice Chéreau, 2009. Color. 100 min.
With Romain Duris, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jean Hughes Anglade
Note: This film is a New York premiere (and apologies for the black type above and below.  TM has tried -- but he can't seem to get rid of it....)

Daniel (Duris), an independent, solitary man, and Sonia (Gainsbourg), share an uneasy, emotional relationship. Daniel lives a relatively happy life renovating apartments, until a stranger begins to stalk him. Increasingly persecuted by the strange man, Daniel in turn begins to persecute Sonia, his friends, and family. The man’s persistence takes its toll on Daniel and Sonia’s relationship, leaving Daniel confused and more alone than ever.  (TM hopes to have his review up the following day....)

Happily Ever After (Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants)
January 26 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Yvan Attal, 2004. Color. 100 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Terence Stamp, Johnny Depp

Gainsbourg’s second collaboration with Attal after the success of My Wife is An Actress finds three friends approaching middle age considering their past, present, and possibly future experiences with love. With great comic insight and graceful filmmaking, Attal examines fidelity, marriage, and the paths to happiness we sometimes struggle to find.  (This one's even more fun than My Wife Is an Actress, and its clever use of a certain mega-star is delightful indeed: TM)

“Carried off with grace, wit and refinement.”­–The New York Times

La Bûche
February 2 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Daniele Thompson, 1999. Color. 106 min.
With Sabine Azéma, Emmanuelle Béart, Charlotte Gainsbourg

At Christmastime, three daughters reunite to assist their grieving mother after the funeral of their stepfather. Now adults who lead very different lives, these women gather to confront a shared past and redefine their family. Gainsbourg won a Best Supporting Actress César for her performance as Milla, the youngest daughter. (A terrific ensemble piece by one of France's finest mainstream moviemakers: Daniele Thompson: TM)

“Even if you hate everything about the holidays—and especially if you hate the kind of movies that herald them—you will find much to love in La Bûche.”—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Lover (Amoureuse)
February 9 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Jacques Doillon, 1992. Color. 99 min.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Thomas Langmann

Doillon, whose keen understanding of youth is without peer, offers with Lover the story of a girl who becomes the object of infatuation of an older man. Already dating another boy, Marie (Gainsbourg) struggles with the persistence of Paul (Attal), whose interference in her life is a distraction—and, possibly, a temptation.  (This is one the TM wants to see. More later.)

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 intends 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 another that TM intends to views and cover.)

“It is doubtless the most beautiful role played by Jane on the big screen.”—J. Nacache, La Revue du Cinéma

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

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