Thursday, May 15, 2008


FRENCH FILMS IN NY - MAY 16-22, 2008

Here's the latest news from the French Embassy about French Films playing in New York --

(But please note: Film schedules are notoriously prone to changes. Please double check the schedule with the theater before you go down there!)

>>>> Now Playing (May 16-22, 2008)


City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3 1001 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10022 1:10pm 3:20pm 5:30pm 7:40pm 10:05pm

Landmark's Sunshine Cinema 143 East Houston Street New York, NY 10002 11:05am 1:15pm 3:30pm 5:50pm 8:10pm 10:20pm

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius. With Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Constantin Alexandrov, Said Amadis, Claude Brosset. 99 minutes. French with English subtitles

2006 Seattle Int’l Film Festival (Audience Award) 2006 Tokyo Int’l Film Festival (Grand Prix)

A box-office sensation in France, comic star Jean Dujardin stars as secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117 who in the tradition of Maxwell Smart and Inspector Clouseau somehow succeeds in spite of his ineptitude. After a fellow agent and close friend is murdered, Hubert is ordered to take his place at the head of a poultry firm in Cairo. This is to be his cover while he investigates Jack's death, monitors the Suez Canal, checks up on the Brits and Soviets, burnishes France's reputation, quells a fundamentalist rebellion and brokers peace in the Middle East. A blithe and witty send-up not only of spy films of that era and the suave secret agent figure but also neo-colonialism, ethnocentrism and the very idea of Western covert action in the Middle East.


“This inspired piece of silliness boasts gorgeous period design, deftly tweaks French colonial smugness, and, in Jean Dujardin's self-mocking playfulness as Agent 117 offers a charming comic turn closer in spirit to Cary Grant than Mike Myers." John Powers, Vogue

“an uproarious send-up of Jean Bruce’s long-running series of spy novels - a Gallic precursor to James Bond…makes joyous nonsense out of bad matte paintings, obvious miniatures, unsubtle sexual innuendo and a lead actor who plays the role to clueless, arched-eyebrow perfection” Scott Foundas, LA Weekly

“Sparkling production design, a jubilantly retro score and a genuine flair for using the film and TV vocabulary of the '60s to revisit colonial arrogance put pic in the same conceptual ballpark as Austin Powers or "The Naked Gun" series.” Lisa Nesselson, Variety

A Music Box Release:


City Cinemas Village East 181 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 2:20pm 4:45pm 7:10pm 9:35pm

Directed by Xavier Gens. NC-17. 108 min. With Karina Testa, Aurelien Wiik, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino

Alone in a Paris plagued by deadly race riots, the young and beautiful Yasmine is looking for a way out. In her desperation, she turns to her shady ex-boyfriend. Together with his two thug friends, they pull off a bold heist and head for the border. With the police close behind, they hide out in a seemingly peaceful inn. But the mysterious innkeeper is hiding a secret more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine. Trapped in an endless maze of tunnels crawling with hungry subhuman cannibals, they must fight to survive their bloody initiation into the innkeeper's evil family cult.

An After Dark release:


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas Broadway Between 62nd and 63rd New York, NY 1002311:20am 1:20pm 3:35pm 5:50pm 8:05pm 10:15pm

Angelika Film Center 18 W. Houston Street New York, NY 10012 12:15pm 2:45pm 5:05pm 7:40pm 10:00pm 12:15am

Jacob Burns Film Center 364 Manville Road Pleasantville, NY 10570 Fri. 5/16: 5:00, 7:15, 9:30, Sat. 5/17: 12:30, 2:45, 5:05, 7:20, 9:35, Sun. 5/18: 12:15, 2:30, 5:00, 7:15, Mon. 5/19: 7:30, Tues. 5/20: 5:30, Wed. 5/21: 5:15, 7:30, Thurs. 5/22: 5:00

By Claude Lelouch, 2007. Color. 103min. In French with English subtitles. With Fanny Ardant, Dominique Pinon, Audrey Dana

In the still of the night, three lives are about to cross: an abandoned woman (Audrey Dana), a stranger awaiting his chance (Dominique Pinon), and a best-selling author (Fanny Ardant). Deceptively layered and intriguingly misleading, this thriller follows these three strangers as they uncover their respective secrets and betrayals. Academy-Award winning director Claude Lelouch originally wrote and directed the film under a nom de plume, further adding to the movie’s mystique. Presented at Cannes in 2007, Roman de gare stars the celebrated Fanny Ardant (La femme de la côté, Ridicule) and Dominique Pinon (Amélie, Delicatessen).

"Infectiously enjoyable. " - The Hollywood Reporter



The Two Boots Pioneer Theater 155 E 3rd St New York, NY 10009

By Hou Hsiao-hsien. With Juliette Binoche, Simon Iteanu, Song Fang. 2007. 113 minutes. In French with English subtitles

Inspired by Albert Lamorisse’s classic 1956 short THE RED BALLOON, the film begins with a mysterious balloon affectionately following 7-year-old Simon (Simon Iteanu) around Paris. A precocious, wide-eyed boy, Simon lives in a shared split-level flat with his mother Suzanne (Binoche), a puppeteer and voice performer. Completely absorbed by her new show, single-mother Suzanne hires Song (Song Fan), a Taiwanese film student, to help care for Simon. They come to form a unique extended family, thoroughly interdependent yet all lost in separate thoughts and dreams. The fluid, unparalleled elegance of Hou’s camerawork finds grace in the simplest of details, and gently discovers a Paris previously unseen. Playing a flawed but disarmingly honest woman struggling to find her footing, Binoche is utterly hypnotic, and has never been better.

“A quiet, unassuming and flawless tribute to Paris, to the spirit of childhood and to the ability of art to compensate for some of the painful imperfections of life.” –A.O. Scott, New York Times
“One of the year’s most stirring sights. A movie whose profundity sneaks up on you and wraps you in a soft embrace.” –Gene Seymour, Newsday
“A work of tremendous precision and heartfelt emotion, made by one of the great artists in the medium. A masterpiece.” –Andrew O’Hehir, Salon


Jacob Burns Film Center 364 Manville Road Pleasantville, NY 10570 Sat. 5/17: 7:00, Thurs. 5/22: 7:30

Cinema Village 22 East 12th Street New York, NY 10003 1:30pm; 5:30pm

Directed by Etgar Keret, Shira Geffen. With Sarah Adler, Nikol Leidman, Gera Sandler, Noa Knoller, Ma-nenita De Latorre. Hebrew/French with English subtitles. 78 mins. Rated NR

Awards: Winner - Camera d’Or - Cannes Film Festival 10-Time Nominee - Awards of Israeli Film Academy

Poignant, often witty and exceedingly cinematic, JELLYFISH (MEDUZOT), tells the story of three very different Tel Aviv women whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. Batya, a catering waitress, takes in a child apparently abandoned at a local beach. Batya is one of the servers at the wedding reception of Keren, a bride who breaks her leg escaping a locked toilet stall, ruining her chance at a dream Caribbean honeymoon. And attending the event with an employer is Joy, a non Hebrew-speaking domestic worker who has guiltily left her son behind in her native Philippines.

"Marvelously inventive, often-ironic Israeli storyteller Etgar Keret and his life- and workmate, Shira Geffen, spin in Jellyfish a dreamy, arty, alluringly cockeyed tale. " - Entertainment Weekly

"[A] tightly constructed, cleverly stylized, serio-comic ensemble piece. " - Variety


Cinema Village 22 East 12th Street New York, NY 100033:20pm 7:20pm 9:30pm

By Pierre Salvadori. With Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Marie-Christine Adam, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jacques Spiesser, Annelise Hesme, Charlotte Vermeil. France 2006 1h43'

Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a shy young bartender, is mistaken for a millionaire by a beautiful seductress named Irene (Audrey Tautou). When Irene discovers his true identity, she abandons him, only to find that a love-struck Jean has no intention of letting her get away. Jean’s comical attempts to gain her affections gradually evolve into setting himself up as a gigolo at a luxury hotel, until Irene finally starts to warm to her persistent, persuasive suitor. Against the wildly atmospheric backdrop of the south of France, Pierre Salvadori (APRES VOUS) directs this sexy and thoroughly charming romantic comedy, which is a fresh re-imagining of the cinema classic, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S.

Revivals, Classics, Festivals…

World Nomads: African Cinema >>> May 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2008

Florence Gould Hall , 55 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)

This series is, at root, about the art and sensibility of storytelling and about the talent and mind that creates the story. No one in the lineage of African Cinema could better tell the story of a people within a space—the life of the country, the encroaching metropolis—than Ousmane Sembène. In conjunction with World Nomads, this film series captures some of his vision and influence through rare screenings of six Yennenga prize films. Concluding with an evening of cinema, spoken word, and music; FIAF and African Film Festival, Inc. create an anthem to African Cinema and a salute to Sembène.


Souleymane Cissé, 1978. Color. 93 min. With Ismaïla Sarr, Baba Niaré. In Bambara with English subtitles

The first feature ever produced in Mali, Baara recounts the story of a young engineer who is promoted as head of a factory. He succeeds in improving the factory, but his desire to involve and empower other workers provokes the anger of the owner, who orders the manager’s execution. Though set in a country rarely seen on film, Baara resonates with universality.

Tuesday, May 20 at 12:30 & 7pm*
*The 7pm screening will be introduced by director and producer Mamadou Niang


Zola Maseko, 2004. Color. 104 min. With Taye Diggs, Moshidi Motshegwa, Gabriel Mann, Jason FlemyngIn English, Afrikaans & German

Drum depicts Sophiatown in the 1950s, a vibrant place full of music, love, and laughter; and the breeding ground for resistance. The film captures a period when a generation of courageous South African writers, critics, and musicians emerged, intermingling with Shebeen queens, and tsotsis (young gangsters). Taye Diggs anchors a commanding ensemble with his portrayal of legendary journalist Henry Nxumalo.
Tuesday, May 20 at 4 & 9pm

Godard 60's >>> May 2 - June 5

Film Forum 209 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10014

Throughout the 1960s, cinephiles eagerly awaited the latest film — or two— by Jean-Luc Godard (born 1930). A founding father of the nouvelle vague, the former critic was its most innovative in form, with each new work seemingly rewriting the grammar of film. Jump cuts, asynchronous soundtracks, self-narration, cinema as essay, cinema as collage, self-referential cinema, cinema of anarchy — you name it, Godard’s 60s oeuvre redefined “cutting edge” — and, with location and available-light shooting, now provides a near-documentary time capsule of Paris and environs. Through JLG’s movies, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Anna Karina became New Wave icons, with the dark-eyed, appealingly vulnerable Karina doubling as the director’s muse through seven quintessential collaborations — and a four-year marriage. Forty years after the tumultuous events of May ’68, and blessed with 100% hindsight, one can almost see the chaos coming through the satire and social criticism in Godard’s chronicles of “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola.” His eventual ever-more outré stylistic leaps would leave even art house audiences behind, but for at least one pivotal decade, Godard was a seminal force in redrawing the map of film. “From Breathless through Weekend, Godard reinvented cinema. Not since D.W. Griffith was knocking out a weekly two-reeler at the Biograph studio on 14th Street had there been anything to equal it.” – J. Hoberman. “The most gifted younger directors and student filmmakers all over the world recognize his liberation of the movies; like James Joyce, he is both kinds of master — both innovator and artist. Godard has already imposed his way of seeing on us; we look at cities, at billboards and brand names, at a girl’s hair different because of him.” – Pauline Kael.

Special thanks to Jonathan Howell (New Yorker Films); Sarah Finklea, Brian Belovarac, Peter Becker, Fumiko Takagi, Kim Hendrickson (Janus Films); Adrienne Halpern, Eric Dibernardo (Rialto Pictures); Delphine Selles (French Ministry of Culture, New York); Suzanne Fedak, Richard Lorber, Jason Viteritti (Koch Lorber); Andrew Youdell, Fleur Buckley (British Film Institute); Stephen Moore (Paul Kohner Agency); Donald Westlake; Laurence Braunberger (Les Films du Jeudi); Frazer Pennebaker (Pennebaker Hegedus Films); agnès b., Chris Apple (agnès b.); Robin Klein, Michael Gochanour, Valerie Collin, Jody Klein (ABKCO); and Mim Scala (Cupid Films).


When Godard's La Chinoise opened in New York on April 3, 1968, the film both anticipated and critiqued the student movements that would storm barricades in Paris and take over buildings at Columbia just a few weeks later. Upper-class Veronique (Anne Wiazemsky) searches for the theoretical justification for her militant urges. Her actor boyfriend Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud) wants to imagine a place for his art in the new order. Together they move into a well-appointed Parisian apartment for the summer, arguing militant strategies with fellow radicals while each battles for his place in the group's shifting hierarchy. No other Godard film more successfully uses the director's Pop Art sensibility: Images, colors and slogans flash across the screen as his characters act out their imagined revolutionary roles, living their lives as if they were quotations. "The children of Marx and Coca-Cola," indeed!

Release: 1967, Runtime: 96

“The cinematic techniques Godard used to evoke radical youth culture seem years ahead of their time.”– Stephen Holden, The New York Times.

“Eerily prophetic and spectacularly stylized.” – Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer.

“Léaud looks young, Wiazemsky beautiful, and La
Chinoise, thank God, not a day past essential.” – Nathan Kosub, Reverse Shot

FRI 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30*, 9:40


In a meadow outside Paris after the events of May ‘68, Renault auto workers and students from Vincennes do a mass recap and try to look ahead, with scenes from “Ciné-tracts,” shot by Godard and others during the turbulence, intercut throughout. The first step of the Dziga Vertov Group’s “road to correct ideas.” For its NYFF premiere, Godard told the projectionist to determine the order of the reels by a coin toss. Digital projection.
1968. Approx. 111 min.



Bourgeois slimeballs Jean Yanne and Mireille Darc wreck cars, battle with neighbors, and rip off gas stations en route to that weekend in the country. Mixing porno, slapstick, violence, political rhetoric, and virtuosic camerawork, an epic vision of the last throes of middle-class society and its car culture, with a pièce de resistance: the screen’s greatest traffic jam, Godard’s camera tracking along a hilarious succession of set piece tableaux for nearly a full reel. With Jean-Pierre Léaud as “Saint-Just.” 1967. Approx. 105 min.

"Nightmarishly funny... a mere description of the plot can't do justice to Godard's fractured narrative and sudden intrusions of nihilistic satire."- The Onion

“Godard seems to be tuned into the youthful frequency of the future. I felt the film unwinding with all the clattering contemporaneity of a tickertape, and the reading for Western Civilization was down, down, and out.”– Andrew Sarris

“This film has more depth than any of Godard's earlier work. It's his vision of Hell and it ranks with the greatest.” – Pauline Kael

“It is as though the violent quality of life had driven Godard into and through insanity, and he had caught it and turned it into one of the most important and difficult films he has ever made. The film must be seen, for its power, ambition, humor, and scenes of really astonishing beauty. There are absurdist characters from Lewis Carroll, from Fellini, from La Chinoise, from Buñuel. It is an appalling comedy. It is hard to take. There is nothing like it at all.” – Renata Adler, The New York Times

SAT/SUN 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40 MON 1:00, 3:10, 5:20


Twenty-four hours in the life of Macha Méril, as she leaves lover Philippe Leroy to meet husband Bernard Noël. Subtitled ‘Fragments of a film shot in 1964’, with detached love scenes underscored with Beethoven; interviews titled Memory, the Present, Intelligence, etc.; quotations from Céline and Racine; and Méril on the receiving end of the already-overwhelming barrage of advertising — at one point double-checking her bust size against the ideal. Digital projection.

1964. Approx. 95 min.

“Firmly established Godard as a politically and socially engaged artist. It placed Godard fully within his times and put his times clearly on his side. It also established the tonality for his work to come, both it its forthright assertion of the cinema as an analytical instrument and in its unique permeability to the events, moods, and ideas of the day.”– Richard Brody

“His best work since Breathless…Godard has made the bedroom scenes genuinely sexual and humanly genuine. The over-all effect is of a lonely loveliness.”– Stanley Kauffman

“One of Godard’s most sociological films, as well as one of his most formally accomplished.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum

MON 7:30, 9:40


“We must start again from zero.” “No, we must first go back to zero.” The beginning of Godard’s farewell to narrative, with Jean-Pierre Léaud and Juliet Berto meeting after hours in a TV studio to embark on seven dialogues on the relationship between politics and film, with street scenes occasionally intercut.

1969. Approx. 95 min. Digital projection.

“It was not going to be possible to make the new cinema by using the language of the old. Having returned to zero, Godard had to start over again. Le Gai Savoir is the first step.” – James Monaco, The Movie Guide

“One of Godard's most beautiful, most visually lucid movies, even when the screen goes completely black and the whispered dialogue is translated in hypnotically white subtitles.”– Vincent Canby

TUE 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30

ALPHAVILLE & Charlotte et Véronique

A trip into the future with erstwhile B movie hero Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) trekking through space to track down Professor “von Braun,” aided by prof’s daughter Anna Karina, squaring off in a final showdown with the Alpha 60 computer. Plus short Charlotte et Véronique (aka All The Boys Are Called Patrick, 1958): “A profusion of winks and nods to initiates . . . The principal mode of expression is in the collection of fetish objects it depicts.” – Richard Brody.

1965. 115 min.

“One of Godard’s most sheerly enjoyable movies, a dazzling amalgam of film noir and science fiction. Not the least astonishing thing is the way Coutard’s camera turns contemporary Paris into a icily dehumanized city of the future.”– Tom Milne, Time Out (London)

“It is difficult to think of any parallel work which so successfully shows the future in the present, and which can sustain viewings forty years after it was made.”– Colin MacCabe

“A science fiction film without special affects. Shifts in tone from satirically tongue-in-cheek futurism, to a parody of private-eye mannerisms, to a wildly romantic allegory depicting a computer-controlled society at war with artists, thinkers, and lovers.”– Andrew Sarris

WED 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45, 10:00


Trench-coated Anna Karina arrives in Atlantic City (apparently a provincial French town) to track down boyfriend Richard Widmark (a character, not the actor), only to find... And then the bodies start dropping, amid encounters with gangster M. Typhus, his nephew David Goodis (a character, not the Shoot the Piano Player author), Goodis’s singing Japanese girlfriend, and a reel-long Hegelian bar bull session. A (very) metaphorical treatment of the murders of JFK and Ben Barka.. . and Godard’s Karina swan song. With Marianne Faithfull and Jean-Pierre Léaud as Donald Siegel (the character, not the Dirty Harry director).

1966. Digital projection. Approx. 90 min.

“Offers the cinema after Pierrot le Fou what Finnegans Wake gave to the novel after Ulysses.” – Michel Capdenac, Les Lettres francaises

“Demonstrates the complete inability of the form to deal with the reality of politics which eludes the easy solutions of the thriller genre. An almost unconscious farewell to Anna Karina.”– Colin MacCabe

“The film’s visual raison d’etre is the extraordinary number and duration of close-ups of Anna Karina. The close-ups are the most expressive ones in color that Godard has made to date.” – Richard Brody

THU 7:30, 9:30


“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.” – Godard. In the dreary suburb of Joinville, Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey (“Belmondo’s suburban cousins” – JLG), and mutual girlfriend Anna Karina, horse around with the idea of burglarizing the villa where she’s staying, but then things go memorably awry. A jeu d’esprit, with set pieces including the trio dancing “Le Madison” (“Probably the singled most imitated sequence in art films.” – Phillip Lopate, NY Times) and then “doing” the Louvre in record time.

1964. Approx. 97 min.

“A reverie of a gangster movie…Godard re-creates the gangsters and the moll as people in a Paris café, mixing them with Rimbaud, Kafka, Alice in Wonderland. This lyrical tragicomedy is perhaps Godard’s most delicately charming film.”– Pauline Kael

“Godard’s band of outsiders are the Beautiful and Damned, whose grace and flair can dance into folly and explode into fatality. Transcendent…crisp editing, fine on-location photography and endless invention.” – Time magazine

“A joy ride done strictly for the fun of it. A giddy delight.” – New York Daily News

“Godard at his most off-the-cuff takes a série noire and spins a fast and loose tale. One of his most open and enjoyable films.”–Time Out (London)

"[There is] beauty and otherworldliness in its every shade of grey... Along with Raoul Coutard's radiant cinematography, what makes the film extraordinary is Karina, the pure curves of her face a contradiction to the marionette angularity of her body."– The Village Voice.

“About the tyranny of living a life of movie-fed fantasies, and while it makes us see the poverty of those fantasies, it also makes them unaccountably rich, poetic, sad.” – Charles Taylor, Salon.

“The audience, thrust out of its dream by Godard’s Brechtian alienation devices, is also flattered into becoming collaborators in the filmmaking process.”– Phillip Lopate, The New York Times.

THU 1:30, 3:30, 5:30

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