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Sunday, 02 June 2013 22:59

Classic French Film Festival presents French treasures

"A Man and a Woman" "A Man and a Woman" thelmagazine.com
Written by Diane Carson
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The Fifth Annual Classic French Film Festival begins Thursday, June 13th and runs through Sunday, June 30th at Webster University. Thirteen different programs include feature-length films from the 1920s to the 1970s, with four restored masterpieces and seven new 35-millimeter prints. Different film scholars and critics will introduce each program and lead discussions after the screenings.

The Classic French Fest kicks off at 7 p.m. June 13th with Julien Duvivier's 1930 "The Ladies' Paradise." Elsie Parker and the Poor People of Paris will provide live musical accompaniment for this amazing, silent, black and white film. Based on an Emile Zola story, the ambitious owner of a huge department store works to eliminate smaller stores. Camera movement, superimpositions, crowd scenes, and stunning art direction make this a breathtaking experience.

Friday night, Claude Lelouch's 1966 iconic "A Man and a Woman" screens, winner of the 1966 Cannes Palme d'Or and Oscars for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay. The restored, 35 mm archival print will certainly do justice to the film's visual feast. Claude Sautet's 1971 restored color film "Max and the Junkmen" follows on Saturday, a film never released in the U.S. A bank heist strategized by police detective Max revolves around a clever cat and mouse game. As played brilliantly by Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider as a gang member's love, the psychological intricacies take center stage, making this a delectable twist on the familiar story.

The Classic French Film Festival's opening weekend concludes on Sunday, June 16th, with the Hearding Cats Artistic Collective musically interpreting a program of five avant-garde silent films. They include Germaine Dulac's landmark surrealistic work "The Seashell and the Clergyman" and Fernand Léger's fascinating "Ballet Mécanique." Selections by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Epstein will equally bogle the mind and delight the senses.

All films are in French with English subtitles and screen at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium. For more information including program descriptions and ticket information, you may go to cinemastlouis.org or call 314-289-4150.

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