Be transported back in time to relive classic French cinema on the silver screen, as the Alliance Française Classic Film Festival announces its exclusive ‘Une Fabuleuse’ collection.
The screenings will be held across Australia for a weekend in the upcoming months, showcasing the talents of the “Les Blondes” in classic French film, including acclaimed actresses such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherience Deneuve and Romy Schneider in classic films such as Viva Maria!, Lovers Like Us, and Caesar and Rosalie.
The Alliance Francaise Classic Film Festival will be held in each capital city from August.
Full dates and featured films are below –
SYDNEY: 26-28 August, Palace Norton Street
SYDNEY: 2-4 September, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
CANBERRA: 2-4 September, Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 2-4 September, Palace Barracks
PERTH: 13-16 October, Backlot Studios Perth
MELBOURNE: 4-6 November, The Astor Theatre
Festival schedule available at http://www.afclassicfilmfestival.org.
CASQUE D’OR – 1952 (Drama)
Director: Jacques Becker
Cast: Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin, Gaston Modot & Paul Barge
La Belle Époque makes the perfect canvas for Becker’s evocative Casque d’Or, an ill-fated story of an impossible love, inspired by the violent criminal underworld of early 20th century Paris. Marie (Signoret) is nicknamed Casque d’Or (Helmet of Gold) by her gangster lover Roland thanks to her distinctive head of blonde hair. The story unfolds in a dancehall on the banks of the Marne, where she is introduced to the handsome stranger George (Reggiani), much to Roland’s chagrin. They fall instantly in love, and their passion triggers an underworld rivalry that rapidly descends into conflict, treachery and murder. Shot in sensuous black and white photography, with poignant and masterful performances, Casque D’Or is Becker at the height of his cinematic prowess, and ripe for rediscovery.
BREATHLESS (À Bout de Souffle) – 1960 (Drama, Romance)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri-Jacques Huet, Liliane Dreyfus & Claude Mansard
Breathless was Jean-Luc Godard’s first feature, boldly heralding the arrival of French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) in 1960. Cool, raw and existential, this black and white masterwork captures the sheer joie de vivre of young love ¬in a style unparalleled at its time. In Marseille, Michel (Belmondo) takes what he wants when he wants it – modelling himself on the film persona of Humphrey Bogart. Whilst stealing a car, he impulsively shoots and kills a policeman. Young, self-centred and on the run, he flees to Paris and reunites with the young American Patricia (Seberg) he met weeks earlier, and tries to convince her to join him as he flees. Pregnant and impressionable, she struggles between her dream of becoming a journalist in Paris, and her bourgeoning affection for this fearless young man. Love, betrayal and escape pervade this romance, inspired by the cine–jazz solo. This monument of French cinema won the 1960 Prix Jean Vigo, and Godard was named Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival
VIVA MARIA! – 1965 (Comedy, Adventure)
Director: Louis Malle
Cast: Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Paulette Dubost, Claudio Brook & George Hamilton
Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau take to the stage in this extravagant French western, set in ‘San Miguel’, director Louis Malle’s fictitious 1907 Central American country. Maria I (Bardot) is the daughter of a life-long anarchist who has spent her life blowing up bridges and police stations. She is taken on as the protégé of Maria II (Moreau), a dancer in a travelling vaudeville show. Drama ensues when the Marias meet Florès (Hamilton), a socialist revolutionary, and the two women become moved by the plight of the peasants. Jumping on the revolutionary bandwagon, Maria and Maria use their intelligence, courage and sensual charm for justice. Viva Maria! is a full blown spectacle – farcical, eccentric and undeniably sexy. The femmes encounter combats, love affairs, and other nonsense on this revolutionary ride.
CESAR AND ROSALIE (César et Rosalie) – 1972 (Drama, Romance)
Director: Claude Sautet
Cast: Romy Schneider, Yves Montand, Sami Frey, Umberto Orsini, Isabelle Huppert & Bernard Le Coq
In Cesar and Rosalie, director Sautet deals with the classic ménage a trois in an intelligent and nuanced manner. Rosalie (Schneider) lives in the beautiful Normandy, with her child from her former husband. She divides her time between Cesar’s and her mother’s homes. Everybody likes Rosalie; she is beautiful, multilingual and free spirited, and Rosalie is in love with Cesar. Rosalie’s world is turned upside down when her old flame David mysteriously reappears, and seeks to reclaim her. And so begins a struggle between the two men for her affection. Cesar and David are opposing forces – The first is a self-made scrap metal magnate, and the second is an artist. The two men focus their affections on the beautiful Rosalie, with unforeseen results. This love triangle will leave you reflecting on the intricacies of love, freedom and friendship.
LOVERS LIKE US (Le Sauvage) – 1975 (Romantic Comedy Adventure)
Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Cast: Yves Montand, Catherine Deneuve, Vernon Dobtcheff, Luigi Vannucchi & Tony Roberts
Rappeneau’s Lovers like Us, showcases the dream couple of Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand amidst the exotic backdrop of Venezuela. Martin (Montand), a perfume creator, leaves the stress of Parisian life to live out his days on an island paradise. Passing through Caracas, he meets the dazzling Nelly (Deneuve). This volcanic woman has just broken off her engagement to a rich Italian, and in search of her freedom, comes across Martin. Chaotic comedy ensues, and the two find themselves moving from antagonism to fondness, as Martin’s dream for the solitary island life drifts further and further from reality. The music of Michel Legrand adds a little melancholy to this whirlwind of adventure and love. Shot in beautiful colour against a spectacular tropical backdrop, Rappeneau reveals more to the public than the splendour of Deneuve’s blonde hair and blue eyes.