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Film Series: "New Wave Impressions: French Film in the Sixties"
Thursdays, June 21 through August 30, 7:00 pm Free
The French New Wave in film, like Impressionism, began as a movement of aesthetic insurgency against the established studio style but became widely influential and ultimately beloved. Like those painters, these filmmakers brought gestural freedom and performative verve to their craft. The New Wave offers distinct historical parallels with the revolution detailed in the Impression exhibition but technical echoes as well. Directors exploited innovations in lightweight equipment to make stylistic signatures of handheld camerawork, natural lighting, jumpcut editing--escaping from the studio to street and countryside, going on location to capture aspects of contemporary life and leisure. Improvisational, convention-breaking, marked by mobility and facility, direct and quick in execution, the New Wave produced filmic Impressions that in many ways hark back to their painterly forebears.
All films are in French with English subtitles.
June 21: Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) (1959, 97 minutes)
The first big splash of the New Wave, François Truffaut's autobiographical tale of delinquent adolescence also launched the five-film "Antoine Doinel" series starring alter ego Jean-Pierre Leaud.
June 28: A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) (1959, 90 minutes)
Jean-Luc Godard's homage to American B-movie gangster flicks shatters conventions with exhilirating bravado and made a star of Jean-Paul Belmondo.
July 5: Tirez sur le Pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player) (1962, 92 minutes)
François Truffaut's no-holds-barred treatment of American film noir is both heartfelt and funny, an emotional roller coaster starring Charles Aznavour.
July 12: Une Femme Est une Femme (A Woman is a Woman) (1961, 88 minutes)
The explosion of genres continues with this "neo-realist musical comedy." Jean-Luc Godard's most genial film is really a love letter to his wife, the actress Anna Karina.
July 19: Jules et Jim (1962, 104 minutes)
This is François Truffaut's masterpiece, in which femme fatale Jeanne Moreau ensnares the title characters from before the First World War to brink of the Second.
July 26: Les Bonnes Femmes (1960, 105 minutes)
Claude Chabrol's film begins as gentle satire of the ordinary lives of four Parisian shopgirls, but ends with the acute psychological suspense that became hallmark of Chabrol's long career.
August 2: Le Feu Follet (The Fire Within) (1964, 104 minutes)
Louis Malle explores the life of a boulevard existentialist, with a riveting performance by Maurice Ronet, searching the haunts of intellectual Paris, looking for a reason to go on living.
August 9: Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, 91 minutes)
Jacques Demy's slight, sordid, youthful romance is made luminous by all-singing, all-color presentation and the introduction of the impossibly beautiful Catherine Deneuve.
August 16: Le Bonheur (Happiness) (1965, 87 minutes)
Like her husband Jacques Demy, Agnes Varda elevates a working-class story with colorful poignancy, this time with an Impressionist palette modeled on Renoir paintings.
August 23: La Religieuse (The Nun) (1965, 140 minutes)
Based on a Diderot novel about a beautiful young girl forced into a convent, this period story elicits a completely different performance from Anna Karina as director Jacques Rivette applies his patient style.
August 30: Le Genou de Claire (Claire's Knee) (1970, 105 minutes)
One of Eric Rohmer's "Six Moral Tales," this comedy of over-intellectualized passion in a lovely Alpine lake setting became his most popular film.
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