Bing Theater
LACMA
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
MiracleMile90036

WEEKEND SERIES Beautiful Dreamer: The Early Films of Catherine Deneuve
March 4 - March 12

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"Being an actress is a very physical thing. If I didn't look the way I looked, I would never have started in films."—Catherine Deneuve With the release of Potiche in which Catherine Deneuve plays the starring role and appears in most of the scenes, France's greatest and best known actress is at the top of her game mid-way through her fourth decade on screen. In 1964, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg made her a star at age twenty and her status has never wavered. Selecting her projects with care she has worked regularly and steadily in big budget and small budget productions, mainly in France and rarely outside Europe, while managing to become a national icon and international symbol of France. As a young actress Deneuve was directed by a succession of strong and individualistic directors—among them Jacques Demy, Roman Polanski, Luis Buñuel and François Truffaut—who collectively honed her screen image and who no doubt inspired in her an appreciation of the director's role and encouraged in her the desire to lend herself to the director's vision. A willingness to take on risky subject matter and to appear in films that experiment with narrative form and visual style is one of the most striking aspects of her filmography and has led to collaborations with edgy directors like Lars von Trier and Raúl Ruiz, with the unfashionable masters Manoel de Oliveira and André Téchiné —her most frequent collaborator since 1980—and with such young directors as Arnaud Desplechin, Leos Carax and François Ozon. 

Though her physical beauty is always a component of her performances—as it would be for any actress—Deneuve has never been limited by labels like sex symbol or grande dame, and her eighty-plus films testify to her range: numerous prostitutes, a gangster's moll, murderesses, thieves, an amputee, a vampire, a lesbian, a philosophy professor, an upper class alcoholic, a factory worker, and in the past decade a range of wives and mothers, some dying, some not. In an appraisal published in 1996, the scholar Maria San Filippo had this to say about the actress's public longevity: "Deneuve is an exception in continuing to demand choice roles at an age considered beyond prime by a youth-obsessed film industry (and) challenges the widely held notion that good roles for older actresses are few and far between. With age she has metamorphosed not so much into an older version of her youthful etherealness but rather into a new kind of beauty altogether...  most vividly expressed in the subtle shifting palette of her wondrous face, which has taken on a more open expanse befitting the earthier, less impassive humanity of her recent roles."

This appreciation of the early screen work of Catherine Deneuve features five films made during the first phase of her career by directors who played a significant role in shaping her screen image. She was only twenty-years-old when Jacques Demy cast her as the lead in Umbrellas of Cherbourg, imprinting on the memories of audiences everywhere the ethereal features and melancholy sweetness of a new young actress. A special chemistry existed between Demy and Deneuve and it continued to sparkle in two more musicals—Les Demoiselles de Rochefort and Donkey Skin. But did the ingénue with a bright future feel the earth move in 1964 when she signed on to play a repressed young manicurist tormented by sexual fantasies and careening into madness? It took the sharp eye of Repulsion director Roman Polanski to spot the cracks in those perfect features and he drew forth a tour de force performance that transformed ingénue into actress overnight.
Two films for Luis Buñuel—Belle de jour and Tristana—followed in rapid succession, and although she was hired by the producer and clashed with her director, Belle de jour provided the psychic template for Deneuve's screen image as a refined and educated woman who effortlessly conceals an elegant perversion-not a gothic psychosis-behind a bourgeois facade. One has the impression that Deneuve's serene beauty provoked Buñuel, that he was inspired to destroy not celebrate; not so Truffaut who saw in Deneuve not one woman but all women and was fascinated by her enigmatic duality. In Mississippi Mermaid, she co-starred with Belmondo who goes mad trying to separate the bad Deneuve from the good; frustrated he snarls "You're so beautiful it hurts look at you." The Last Metro, their second and final film together, came eleven years later and was a seminal project for both: Truffaut exorcised the ghosts of his Occupation past and Deneuve played a great actress and "a responsible woman", a part Truffaut wrote expressly for her. For Deneuve, The Last Metro also marked the end of her association with the directors who shaped her career to date: in 1980 she would play a pill-popping anesthetist in love with a younger man in André Téchiné's Hotel America, the first of six films made with Techiné that are a testament to the mature Deneuve's remarkable depth as an actress.

This series is presented with invaluable assistance from the French Film and TV Office, Los Angeles, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Our thanks to Marina Bailey; Ed Arentz, Music Box Films.

March 4
7:30 PM Belle de jour
March 4
9:20 PM Repulsion
March 11
7:30 PM The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
March 11
9:15 PM Donkey Skin
March 12
7:30 PM The Last Metro


PREVIEW SCREENING Potiche
March 8



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Based on a stage play set in a provincial French town in the 1970s, writer/director François Ozon's newest film stars Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne Pujol, a submissive and housebound 'trophy housewife' (or "potiche") who steps in to manage the umbrella factory of her wealthy husband (Fabrice Luchini) after the workers go on strike and take their tyrannical boss hostage. To everyone's surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action, and it is only a matter of time before she runs into a former union leader and ex-beau (Gérard Depardieu) who still holds a flame for her.  But when her husband returns to the factory, rested and in top form, things get complicated. A popular and critical hit in France, Potiche is a showcase for the talents of Catherine Deneuve who committed to the project at the outset and remained involved in the various phases of its development: script, casting and pre-production. Key to the success of the film was the pivotal character of Suzanne who, as Ozon notes, is "a caricature, as are the other characters. I knew from experience that Catherine would know how to give Suzanne the necessary depth for audience identification. Catherine is an earthy actress; she makes situations real and creates empathy for the character." Recalling her own approach to the role, Deneuve observed that "the film was very structured, but within that structure, François gave the actors a lot of freedom. And since there's a mixture of comedy and emotion, I wanted to be sincere, and play my character and the situations straight... to express just how much Suzanne has been oppressed by her authoritative husband. That way, we're happy to see her get her revenge." A Music Box Films release. In person: Catherine Deneuve, in conversation after the screening. View the film's trailer hereTHIS SCREENING IS SOLD OUT! A stand-by line will form at 6:30 pm at the box-office on the eveningof the event. Any cancellations or seats that become available will go to people waiting in this line. Please note that there is no guarantee that everyone in the stand-by line will be accommodated.
Potiche
March 8
7:30 PM


PREVIEW SCREENING The Black Tulip
March 10



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Shot on location in war-torn Afghanistan by American director Sonia Nassery Cole, an Afghan expatriate, The Black Tulip tells the story of a Kabul family that, after the fall of the Taliban regime, opens a restaurant called "The Poet's Corner," where artists and writers are encouraged to make use of an open mic. But the family soon learns that their window of freedom is fleeting and pays a high price for daring to embrace culture again. Director Cole, who plays the role of a passionate mother in the film and is the founder and CEO of the Afghanistan World Foundation, will be present for a Q&A following the screening. In person: Sonia Nassery Cole, in conversation after the screening. View the film's trailer here. View an interview with Sonia Nassery Cole here. Find more information on the film here.
March 10 7:30 PM The Black Tulip


WEEKEND SERIES On the Edge: Classics from La Semaine de la critique 
March 18 - March 25



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Conceived by the French Union of Film Critics in 1962, La Semaine de la critique (Critics' Week) runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival every May, and presents an eclectic showcase of first and second feature works. Highlights of the festival's most recent slate include Rubber, the directorial debut of electronic musician Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr. Oizo) about a car tire with destructive, ESP-like powers, the harrowing Afghan War documentary Armadillo and the Oscar-winning animated short Logorama, in which apocalypse rains down on a landscape entirely populated by brand-name mascots and corporate insignia. 
In honor of its 50th anniversary, LACMA highlights six films which made their debut at the Semaine. Hailing from four continents—Europe, North America, South America and Asia—they represent distinct characteristics of Semaine's selection over the years. Early works from filmmakers who have risen to international prominence: Jacques Audiard's streetwise thriller Regarde les hommes tomber starring Jean-Louis Tringtignant and Barbet Schroeder's hypnotic More, a portrait of hippie nihilism set amid the sun and sea of Ibiza and scored by Pink Floyd. Films exploring political matters: Getino/Solanas' four-hour agitprop epic The Hour of the Furnaces, a rallying cry for anti-imperialist Third Cinema set to Soviet-style montage. And radical formal experiments: Straub/Huillet's sublimely austere anti-biopic Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach which is largely comprised of live, full-length performances of Bach's music, Hiroshi Teshigahara's psychedelic noir Pitfall which crosses the existentialist-tinged surrealism of Alain Resnais with a potently modernist Toru Takemitsu score, and Paul Morrissey's Beckett-like underground classic Trash starring Joe Dellassandro as a strung-out junkie. This series is presented with invaluable assistance from the French Film and TV Office, Los Angeles, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Our thanks to Anaïs Couette and Hélène Auclaire from the Semaine de la Critique; Jonathan Howell, New Yorker Films; Mike Thomas, Jour de Fete Films; Sarah Finklea and Brian Belevorac, Janus Films; Thomas Petit, Les Films du Losange; and Didier Haudepin, Bloody Mary Productions.
semaine
March 18
7:30 PM Regarde les hommes tomber
March 18
9:10 PM Pitfall
March 19
2:00 PM The Hour of the Furnaces
March 19
7:30 PM Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
March 25
7:30 PM More
March 25
9:40 PM Trash


FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane
March 26



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Born in Chicago and raised in the Bay Area, Jordan Belson trained as a painter before turning his attention to filmmaking after discovering the abstract films of Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren and Hans Richter. Since 1947, Belson has explored consciousness, transcendence, and light in a visionary body of work that has been called "cosmic cinema": brimming with vibrant color, mandalas, liquid forms and mesmerizing rhythms. Starting in 1957, Belson collaborated with sound artist Henry Jacobs on the Vortex Concerts, multimedia events that combined new electronic music from around the world with Belson's visual effects projected on the 65-foot dome of the California Academy of Science's Morrison Planetarium. Tonight's program features rarely screened films including Caravan (1952), Séance (1959), a new preservation print of Chakra (1972), and more, including Belson's latest film, Epilogue (2005), funded by the NASA Art Program and commissioned by the Hirshhorn Museum. Presented in association with Center for Visual Music; program introduced by Cindy Keefer, archivist and curator, CVM.
Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane
March 26
7:30 PM


LIMITED RUN Every Man for Himself
April 1 - April 2



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After a decade of radical politics, video experimentation and activist filmmaking as part of the Dziga Vertov Group, Jean-Luc Godard made a triumphant return to international screens with this 1980 feature. Proclaimed by Godard himself as his "second first film", Every Man for Himself was released in the US by Francis Ford Coppola to great acclaim; in The Village Voice, Andrew Sarris called it, "a masterpiece", writing "Every image is suffused with such elegant and exquisite insights into what makes the medium interact with its material that the total effect is intoxicating."
Iconic chanteur Jacques Dutronc stars as a filmmaker estranged from his job, his ex-wife and their prepubescent daughter. Frustrated in his relationship with television producer Nathalie Baye, he winds up with a call-girl (Isabelle Huppert in a break-out performance) whose other clients range from eccentric tycoons to crime bosses. Shot by William Lubtchansky, Jacques Rivette's cinematographer and a staple of vanguard French cinema, the film captures fleeting moments—a windswept bike-ride on a quiet country lane, a curbside fist fight, a soccer match—in single shots that take on a rhapsodic quality when Godard manipulates them on the fly by varying their speed and freezing certain frames. These effects not only inspired the film's British title (Slow Motion) but also echo the dazzling jump cuts of Godard's seminal 1960 debut: Breathless.
Split between the serene Swiss countryside and Geneva's bustling streets, Every Man for Himself is a poetic, comical, and incisive portrait of sex and work in the modern world. It's also one of cinema's greatest comebacks. "Brilliant… by the end of the film, one's perceptions have been so enriched, so sharpened, that one comes out of it invigorated. Every Man for Himself leaves you with a renewed awareness of how a fine movie can clear away the detritus that collects in a mind subjected to endless invasions by clichés and platitudes and movies that fearlessly champion the safe or obvious position. It's a tonic."—Vincent Canby, The New York Times.
New 35mm print! Find interviews, stills and much more on the film here.
April 1
7:30 PM Every Man for Himself
April 1
9:30 PM Every Man for Himself
April 2
5:00 PM Every Man for Himself
April 2
7:30 PM Every Man for Himself


CLASSIC REVIVAL Diary of a Country Priest
April 22 - April 24



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A young priest arrives in the rural hamlet of Ambricourt in northern France to attend to his first parish. Confronted with an indifferent and often hostile congregation, he's thrown into a crisis of faith that plays out on the pages of his private journal. As he commits himself to overcoming the villagers' apathy at all costs, he pursues an ascetic life sustained by a diet of bread, sweetened wine and contemplation. Writer/director Robert Bresson also strips away the inessential. The film's restraint—low-key performances, elliptical edits, unobtrusive compositions, piercing long takes—intensifies the spiritual journey of a man approaching sainthood. Bresson's fourth film, based on the novel of the same name by George Bernanos, brought the director international acclaim and cemented his stature as France's preeminent postwar auteur ("the greatest narrative filmmaker since D.W. Griffith," per J. Hoberman) and an influence to directors as disparate as Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Kathryn Bigelow and Pedro Costa. (Travis Bickle, the eponymous Taxi Driver, was inspired by Bresson's introverted priest.) Pauline Kael praised Bresson's film as "One of the most profound emotional experiences in the history of film. No other director, with the possible exception of Dreyer with The Passion of Joan of Arc, has come so close to communicating a religious experience." A landmark of transcendental cinema, Diary of a Country Priest was awarded multiple prizes at the Venice Film Festival and received France's prestigious Prix Louis Delluc. "Bresson's best film. Every shot is as true as a handful of earth."—François Truffaut. New 35mm print with all-new subtitles. Read an Artforum piece on the film here.
April 22
7:30 PM Diary of a Country Priest
April 22
9:40 PM Diary of a Country Priest
April 23
5:00 PM Diary of a Country Priest
April 23
7:30 PM Diary of a Country Priest
April 24
1:00 PM Diary of a Country Priest


hfp2879  The 2010-11 film program is made possible by the generosity of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association®. Program Notes Friday and Saturday screenings begin at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. There is a ten-minute intermission between features on a double bill. All programs are subject to change. Films are in 35mm unless otherwise indicated. Foreign-language films are subtitled in English. Many films are unrated and may not be appropriate for younger viewers. If a film is listed as "sold out," a standby line will form one hour before the screening. Any cancellations or seats that become available will go to people waiting in this line. Please note that there is no guarantee that everyone in the standby line will be accommodated.