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Every Man for Himself:
THE FILMS OF MAURICE PIALAT
Apr. 22-May 3
"The most important French filmmaker since Robert Bresson." -Film Comment
"Spellbinding, unsentimental, profoundly personal and sexually bold" -Time Out Chicago
"This retrospective...is long overdue" -Chicago Reader
"One of the most intransigent, defiant, deeply personal directors in French cinema" -Chicago Tribune
Maurice Pialat's honest and raw portraits of family life, sexual warfare, and emotional abandonment have had a tremendous influence on contemporary French cinema; his gritty naturalism can be felt in the films of Claire Denis (Beau Travail) and the Dardennes brothers (La Promesse), among many others. When Pialat passed away in 2003, Cannes Film Festival head Gilles Jacob declared, "Pialat is dead and we are all orphaned. French cinema is orphaned."
Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, under the curatorship of Richard PeZa, with the support of French Cultural Services (New York) and the Bureau de Cinéma of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Paris). Special thanks to Gaumont and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for creating new prints for this series, and to INA for providing The House in the Woods. Special thanks to Marie Bonnel of French Cultural Services in New York for her indefatigable efforts on behalf of this project and a very special thanks to Sylvie Danton Pialat for all her help and support in arranging the series.
"A film in which nuance is everything...the performances are stunning." -Time Out
"Nonjudgmental and unsentimental" -Chicago Reader
After proving himself to be unmanageable, nine-year-old François is sent away from his adoptive parents in the north of France and placed in the home of an elderly couple. Maurice Pialat made this, one of the most confident and accomplished debuts ever, thanks to the encouragement and production support given to him by François Truffaut.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1968, 35mm, 82 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Fri., Apr. 22 at 7 pm
Tues., Apr. 26 at 7 pm
WE WILL NOT GROW OLD TOGETHER (NOUS NE VIELLIRONS PAS ENSEMBLE)
Starring Jean Yanne and Marlène Jobert
"Even more than its predecessors...shows what links Pialat to the New Wave but also what sets him aside from it" -The Guardian
"Devastating" -Chicago Reader
"Remarkable...it's one of the most unsparing confessional works ever" -Chicago Tribune
Based on his autobiographical novel, Pialat's daring film charts the final days of an affair between a married filmmaker and a young working class woman. Capturing all the emotional nuances of two people who fear being alone more than being unhappy, this feminist film also concerns a woman extricating herself from a partner who delights in degrading her.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1972, 35mm, 107 mins. In French with English subtitles.
"Loulou is as fresh and unsettling today as it was in 1980. [Depardieu and Huppert are] so explosively real and mercurial and spontaneous, that it's hard to think of them as acting." -Film Comment
"A study in erotic revolution...one of the most original French films of the period" -Chicago Reader
"Sizzles and explodes" -Chicago Tribune
A bourgeois professional (Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher, Merci Pour le Chocolat) leaves her successful advertising executive husband for a lazy leather-clad lout (Gérard Depardieu, Vatel, Cyrano de Bergerac) as Pialat's story of physical and emotional obsession traces her fall into capriciousness and sexual abandon.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1980, 35mm, 110 mins. In French with English subtitles.
"A neglected masterpiece and...the "don't miss" film of the retrospective" -Chicago Tribune
Accepted as a commission from French television, The House in the Woods is one of Maurice Pialat's best-loved works. A local gamekeeper and his wife take in children left abandoned during WWI. At times the war is very far away; at other times, it's right outside their door.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1971, BetaSP, 360 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Separate admission to each part. Sorry, no passes.
Showtimes: Part 1: Sun., Apr. 24 at 3 pm Part 2: Sun., May 1 at 3 pm
THE MOUTH AGAPE (LA GUEULE OUVERTE)
"An incandescent masterpiece if ever there was one." -Sight & Sound
A dying woman must face her philandering, alcoholic husband as well as her affectionate but feckless son, whose escape from his own mental anguish takes the form of anonymous sexual encounters. As the entire family tries to cope with her imminent death, they are forced to confront and comfort each other.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1974, 35mm, 82 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Mon., Apr. 25 at 7 pm
Thurs., Apr. 28 at 7 pm
GRADUATE FIRST (PASSE TON BAC D'ABORD)
Made amidst a spate of films in France dealing with teenagers discovering sexuality and ennui, Graduate First differs from its contemporaries by painting a brutal, compassionate portrait of a group of teens living in a bleak Normandy mining town. Although their final graduation test looms, they drift from bar to bar and relationship to relationship, contemplating their future.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1979, 35mm, 85 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Mon., Apr. 25 at 9 pm Thurs. Apr. 28 at 9 pm
TO OUR LOVES (A NOS AMOURS)
Best Picture César Awards
"The best film of the year...Pialat must have put his actors through hell, but they came back with things you've never seen in a movie before." -Village Voice
"Sex is often a primal revolutionary, disruptive force in Pialat's films and never more than here...One of his greatest, darkest works" -Chicago Tribune
A dysfunctional family produces a teenager, (Sandrine Bonnaire, Joan the Maid), whose appetite for sex appears to be insatiable. Pialat casts himself as the family's remote patriarch who turns every familial encounter into domestic conflict. The film won both the French critics' prize and the César (France's Oscar) for best picture of the year.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1983, 35mm, 102 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Wed., Apr. 27 at 7 & 9 pm
Co-written by Catherine Breillat (Romance, Anatomy of Hell)
Starring Gerard Depardieu
Best Actor Venice Film Fest
"An intense, convincing look at mad love on the fringes of the underworld" -Chicago Tribune
Gérard Depardieu stars in this gritty thriller about a burnt-out cop whose world begins to crumble when he becomes involved with a woman (Sophie Marceau, Beyond the Clouds) who has stolen a suitcase full of money and heroin. Depardieu's intense performance won him the award for best actor at the Venice Film Festival. Co-scripted by Catherine Breillat (Romance, Anatomy of Hell).
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1985, 35mm, 113 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Depardieu plays an ascetic priest exiled by his church to a small village, for whom life is nothing but an endless struggle with Satan. He meets his spiritual match in a pretty, unholy wreck of a girl (Bonnaire) who longs for redemption, and whose essential innocence makes her all the more terrifying. A brooding study in evil and divine grace, the film won the Palme d'Or (Best Film) at the Cannes Film Festival.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1987, 35mm 97 mins. In French with English subtitles.
Sun., May 1 at 6:30 pm
Mon., May 2 at 6:30 pm
Starring Gerard Depardieu
"An acute and provocative portrait." -New Zealand Int'l Film Festival
"A major work...searingly emotional...the film is full of extraordinary human moments" -Chicago Tribune
"A brutal self-portrait of a troubled and violent man" -Chicago Reader
Pialat's final film was inspired by the birth of his only child and co-written with his wife. Gérard Depardieu plays a successful Parisian professional trying to decide whether or not to leave his wife. Moving in and out of relationships with women has pretty much defined his adult life; yet the connection he feels -- or wants to feel -- to his son is something he's never experienced and doesn't know quite how to handle.
Directed by Maurice Pialat, France, 1995, 35mm, 102 mins. In French with English subtitles.