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WEEKEND SERIES Beautiful Dreamer: The Early Films of Catherine Deneuve
March 4 - March 12
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.
7:30 PM Belle de jour
9:20 PM Repulsion
7:30 PM The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
9:15 PM Donkey Skin
7:30 PM The Last Metro
PREVIEW SCREENING Potiche
|March 8||7:30 PM|
PREVIEW SCREENING The Black Tulip
March 10 7:30 PM The Black Tulip
WEEKEND SERIES On the Edge: Classics from La Semaine de la critique
March 18 - March 25
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.
7:30 PM Regarde les hommes tomber
9:10 PM Pitfall
2:00 PM The Hour of the Furnaces
7:30 PM Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
7:30 PM More
9:40 PM Trash
FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane
|March 26||7:30 PM|
LIMITED RUN Every Man for Himself
April 1 - April 2
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.
7:30 PM Every Man for Himself
9:30 PM Every Man for Himself
5:00 PM Every Man for Himself
7:30 PM Every Man for Himself
CLASSIC REVIVAL Diary of a Country Priest
April 22 - April 24
7:30 PM Diary of a Country Priest
9:40 PM Diary of a Country Priest
5:00 PM Diary of a Country Priest
7:30 PM Diary of a Country Priest
1:00 PM Diary of a Country Priest
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.