Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Free French cinema--all over NYC--as FILMS ON THE GREEN returns for its eighth annual series

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.

Here's a film that should make clear to today's youth audience what something sexy looked like in the mid 1950s, when the poor old USA was getting damned little of it and so had to turn to France for a good turn-on. Interestingly enough, this film is now rated only PG -- which indicates, among other things, how very G-rated (if we'd actually had a rating system way back then) were most American films of the 1950s.

TrustMovies has a particular soft spot for the annual Films on the Green fest because he's been covering it since its inception: first, for the late, lamented, 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).

All the screenings are absolutely free and viewers are invited to bring their own food and drink and enjoy an evening of film culture al fresco. This year's films includes classics like the Vadim and 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.

You can see the entire program below, along with the proper park locations and descriptions of the films via the press office of the French Embassy. Mark your calendar now, and don't miss a single screening. What with all the dry weather we've been having of late, there may not even occur any rain interference, as in some former years.



Friday, May 29 | 8:30 pm - Central Park (79th street and Fifth Avenue)
…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.

Friday, June 5 | 8:30 pm - Washington Square Park
By Nadine Labaki with Nadine Labaki, Yasmine Al Massri, Joanna Moukarzel
2007 | Comedy | PG | 1h35 | France-Lebanon
Presented in partnership with the Fondation Liban Cinéma
In a colorful and sensual Beirut beauty salon, five women meet regularly to talk and confide in each other. Between haircuts and caramel sugar waxes, the friends share intimate stories about men, sex, motherhood, and their personal liberation. 

Friday, June 12 | 8:30 pm - Washington Square Park
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.

Friday, June 19 | 8:30 pm - Tompkins Square Park
PRICELESS (Hors de Prix)
By Pierre Salvadori with Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh
2006 | Comedy | PG-13 | 1h46 
Irène, an attractive young woman, is on vacation at a French Riviera resort with Jacques, an older and very wealthy man. One night, while celebrating her birthday alone, she meets the handsome and intriguing Jean, who claims to be a millionaire and ad-venturer. However, unbeknownst to 
Irène, Jean isn’t everything he appears to be… 

Friday, June 26 | 8:30 pm - Tompkins Square Park
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.

Friday, July 10 | 8:30 pm - River-side Park, Pier I
By Jacques Baratier with Omar Sharif, Claudia Cardinale, Daniel Emilfork 
1958 | Drama | UR | 1h21 | France-Tunisia
Goha, a poor, ignorant, and naïve boy, wanders around with his donkey all day long in a small Tunisian town. Taj El-Ulum, a wise old man who is respected and admired by all, soon remarries and chooses the pretty Fulla. But, bored 
in her new home, the young bride falls in love with Goha, and to no surprise, chaos ensues.

Friday, July 17 | 8:30 pm - Riverside Park, Pier I
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.

Friday, July 24 | 8:30 pm - Transmitter Park
By Paula Delsol with Jacqueline Vandal, Pierre Barouh, Paulette Dubost
1963 | Romance | UR | 1h30 
Jacquie, a beautiful young girl, returns home in the South of France. There, she regretfully re-assimilates to a life with her childhood friends, stay-at-home mother and unhappily married sister. She drifts from lover to lover in the process of shredding the social conventions that dictate a life of submission and resignation.

Friday, July 31 | 8:30 pm - Transmitter Park
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.

Thurs., Sept. 10 | 7:30 pm - Columbia University
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.

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