Free Film Series at the Clark Kicks Off with Dangerous Liaisons on November 17

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2007

French aristocratic style during the era of artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard will be the focus of a free film series at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "In Amorous Fashion: Films of Fragonard's France" will be held on selected Saturday afternoons at 2 pm. The series begins with Dangerous Liaisons on November 17.

Catch Dangerous Liaisons (1988, 120 min., rated R) on November 17 to kick off the series. Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses from 1782 has been adapted to the screen in various times and places, but two costume dramas true to the era were produced at the same time. Stephen Frears's version, with Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Uma Thurman, reached the screen first, garnered most of the attention, and remains bleak but beautiful. A 1792 version of Laclos’s book Les Liaisons Dangereuses is on display in Printed Love, an exhibition contextualizing the works of Fragonard through a display of engravings, etchings, and illustrated books from the extraordinary collection of rare books in the Clark’s library.

December 1 will feature Valmont (1989, 137 min; French, with subtitles; rated R), Milos Forman's version of Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This version is less intent on psychological interiority and more on lavish interiors and exteriors. As played by Annette Bening, Colin Firth, Meg Tilly, and Fairuza Balk, the characters are more playful than malevolent, and the tone is closer to French bedroom farce. But, oh those sets and costumes!

In Ridicule (1996, 102 min; French, with subtitles; rated R) on December 15 Patrice Leconte explores the mores of Versailles in the reign of Louis XIV, where rapier wit is the means of advancement and romance a snare and distraction. Fanny Ardant leads a sparkling French case in this sumptuous and wickedly funny film.

Girls just want to have fun, and Sophia Coppola reminds us the queen was just a girl before she became an embodiment for royal decadence in Marie Antoinette (2006, 123 min., rated PG-13) on December 29. Kirsten Dunst portrays her with exhilaration—despite the guillotine in her future—in this delicious bonbon of a movie.

During the 1780s and 1790s, Jean-Honoré Fragonard turned his focus away from playful genre subjects, garden landscapes, and fantasy portraits, to a series of dramatic reflections on the subject of romantic love. Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love, the first significant exhibition in the United States of Fragonard’s works in 20 years, explores these mysterious and evocative works in a variety of forms: oil painting, drawings, prints, and illustrated books. The exhibition presents one of the greatest and most prolific artists in the decades preceding the French Revolution from a new perspective, expanding the understanding of the art of this influential period. Consuming Passion, organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the Clark, is on view through January 21. Printed Love, on view only at the Clark, is a complementary exhibition to Consuming Passion.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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