Sunday, February 6, 2011

At FIAF: two full months of Tuesdays featuring women in cinema -- French style!

Cinéma des femmes: Perspectives on Women Filmmakers is the name of this special CinémaTuesdays Film Series, and your host is the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). Films screen each Tuesday, from February 8 through March 29, and the place is Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street in Manhattan, as New York's premiere French cultural center devotes itself to the rich history of women's film-making in France.

Co-curated by Marie Losier and Sam Di Iorio, Associate Professor of French at Hunter College, the series promises to explore a cross-section of films that represent a more eclectic list than the expected canon, and includes a U.S. premiere -- Nouakchott Rocks (click and scroll down; photo shown above), a 20-minute film from 2010, directed by Moira Tierney about daily life in Nouakchott, a coastal capital in Saharan Africa -- as well as an in-person appearance by one of France’s most acclaimed young directors, Mia Hansen-Løve (shown below, the writer/director of last year's a widely-heralded movie The Father of My Children), who will present her debut feature All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonné). Click here and scroll down for my "take" on her earlier film.

The two-month series assembles a cross-section of female voices that have produced everything from an eighties musical to a handful of contemporary comedies, several auteurist favorites, silent shorts, and a rare precursor to cinéma vérité. Presented together, the curators claim, these films create an ideal starting point for fresh discussions on the history of women’s filmmaking in France, as well as an opportunity to begin answering the question posed in the title of Coline Serreau’s documentary “But What Do Women Want?” -- which is also included in the series.

Other highlights of the series include several shorts by Alice Guy Blaché, the first woman director and first woman to establish and preside over her own film studio; Christelle Lheureux and Sébastien Betbeder’s All Mountains Look Alike (Toutes les montagnes se ressemblentm, a still from which is shown above); Paula Delsol’s powerful New Wave gem La dérive; the U.S. premiere of Cecile ParisThe Italians, A Debut (click and scroll down; photo shown below); Claire Denis’ acutely personal coming-of-age film U.S. Go Home; and Jackie Raynal’s moving documentary Merce Cunningham (click and scroll down), which she will present in person.

You can view the entire series -- with dates, screening times and the opportunity to buy tickets -- by clicking here.  This special series, as are all the CinemaTuesdays, is free to FIAF members: quite the good reason for joining, don't you think?

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