The last group begins with Pierre Étaix's clever, playful "The Great Love" shown with the thematically related short "Happy Anniversary." In "Great Love" Étaix stars as a romantic Walter Mitty businessman who loves his wife but can't help flights of fancy involving his much younger secretary. As he dreams up various comic scenarios involving his friend, co-workers and family, he seamlessly segues into his imagination with wonderfully staged slapstick using sound and image. Winner of the 1963 Oscar for best short subject, "Happy Anniversary" follows Étaix facing one insurmountable hurdle after another trying to conquer Parisian traffic and get home with an anniversary present.
By contrast, Francois Truffaut's 1975 "The Story of Adele H." watches the daughter of Victor Hugo descend into madness because of her obsessive, unrequited love of a British military officer. As the story unfolds, a palpable dread overwhelms the events. The devastating emotional impact of Adele's experience is profound. As Adele, Isabelle Adjani's passionate performance merited a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Not previewed, the 1972 Truffaut film, "Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me" is a thriller infused with comedy and screens at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, right before "Adele H." Max Ophuls celebrated 1953 "The Earrings of Madame de" screens on Friday, and the festival concludes on Sunday with Jean-Pierre Melville's 1961 "Léon Morin, Priest," starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva, most recently seen in last year's "Amour."
Different film scholars and critics will introduce each program and lead discussions after the screenings. All films are in French with English subtitles 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.