The first weekend of Friday, July 13th through Sunday, July 15th the French Festival kicks off with Children of Paradise, Marcel Carné’s masterpiece shot in France during the Nazi occupation and released in 1945. Restored from its original negative, the film runs over three hours, with a 10 minute intermission. The multifaceted story hinges on an actress and her troubled relationships with four men in the theatre world of 1828 Paris. Children of Paradise ranks among the best French films ever made, at the top of the list for many critics.
On Saturday, July 14, the second program consists of René Clair’s 1927 The Italian Straw Hat, also known as The Horse Ate the Hat. Unavailable for preview, the restored DVD of the director’s cut will screen with live music accompaniment by the Poor People of Paris, exactly as silent films should be seen.
The Classic French Film Festival’s opening weekend concludes on Sunday, July 15th with new 35mm prints of two Eric Rohmer features: The Green Ray (1986) and Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987). Celebrated New Wave director Rohmer became famous for his uncanny ability to capture characters through conversations and silence during which, as in real life, individuals reveal themselves: their hopes, dreams and fears. Rohmer explores romance and values, first in his cycle of Six Moral Tales and, later his Comedies and Proverbs cycle, The Green Ray the fifth in that series. In it a recently single Delphine learns about the elusive, magical green flash sighted at sunset, described in a Jules Verne novel. She decides to pursue the remote chance that she may see it.
Different film experts will briefly introduce each film and then lead a discussion after each program. All films screen at Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, in French with English subtitles. For more information including program descriptions and ticket information, you may go to cinemastlouis.org or call 314-289-4150.