Friday, February 28, 2020


FREEMAN DYSON (12/15/1923 - 02/28/2020)

Freeman Dyson (1970) 
Photo by Eric Roffman

Freeman Dyson, a brilliant scientist, mathematician, and all-around brilliant person and family man, died today at the age of 96.

Freeman Dyson was most renowned for uniting the work of Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga on quantum electrodynamics (QED), creating a useful theory that would pave the way for quantum chromodynamics and the "standard model" of modern physics.

In addition to the fundamental importance of Dyson's work on quantum electrodynamics, his brilliant work in many disparate areas results in his name routinely coming up in discussions of progress in an amazingly diverse number of fields.

He worked on nuclear power generation, space travel, invented the "Dyson Sphere" (hypothesizing that an advanced civilization could build a sphere around its star(s) to trap the energy), studied basic questions of stability, was interested in life (real and artificial), investigated number theory, and many other things as well.

In assessing new ideas, he was always hopeful but never reckless.

Freeman Dyson contributed to the defense of Britain in WWII; and later, in the US, to the defense of the world -- seeking a rational analysis of disarmament and defense issues.

In addition to being one of the great scientists and mathematicians, Freeman Dyson was also a terrific writer. His last book, Maker of Patterns, a collection of letters he sent to his parents as a young man, is personal and fascinating.

Here are some of his books:

Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters (2018)
Dreams of Earth and Sky (2015)
Advanced Quantum Mechanics (2011)
The Scientist as Rebel (2006)
Infinite in All Directions (2004)
The Sun, The Genome, and The Internet (1999)
Origins of Life (1999)
Selected Papers of Freeman Dyson with Commentary (Collected Works) (1996)
Weapons and Hope (1984)
Disturbing the Universe (1981)

It is a great loss for the world.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Personal note: Freeman Dyson invited me to the Institute for Advanced Study after I finished my PhD. It was a fabulous place to develop as a scientist. (I also made my first movie there.) I sat by the pond and watched the birds and the insects fly around and finally wrote a paper on the stability and localization of solutions of nonlinear equations. Freeman's father was a noted composer and director of a musical institute in London, and he was a lover of music. My wife was (and is) a violinist and teacher, and she began teaching the children of Freeman and Imme, and we spent much time with them. He has a wonderful family. After I left the Institute, as our children grew, we spent many wonderful Easter Sundays with Imme and Freeman and our children at their house on Easter Egg Hunts, and Imme and Freeman came to NY for a Seder. In the early 90's Freeman's daughter Esther Dyson held the world's most important technical conferences every year, and I went to several of them. They were terrific events. We maintained a connection with the Dysons over the years, attended several of their celebrations, and not that long ago Freeman and Imme came to a theater project I did staging a dramatic adaptation of Shakespeare's sonnets and songs; and to a celebratory concert where my daughter, who has known the Dysons since she was born, played the Bach Double with Joshua Bell, at the music school where my wife is the founding director.

I had hoped to see Freeman again soon, to discuss work I've been doing recently, related to the work I started at the Institute.

Freeman has always been an inspiration to me.

Here is a link to a photo from the 1992 PC Forum

At The 1992 PC Forum
Freeman Dyson (left), from the Institute for Advanced Study, shares a laugh with Eric Roffman, from Personal Media International/inteem!, at Esther Dyson's annual PC Forum, Tucson, Arizona, February 23-26, 1992. (Photo by Ann E. Yow-Dyson/Getty Images)


Thursday, February 20, 2020





Directed by Ivo van Hove
Choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Book by Arthur Laurents; Based on a Conception by Jerome Robbins; Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; 

Entire Original Production Directed and Choreographed by Jerome Robbins

The Short Review: DON'T MISS IT!

Slightly longer review:

The score, by Leonard Bernstein is, alone, more than enough reason to see (and hear!) the show.

The dancing, choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is, alone, more than enough reason to see the show.

The direction, by Ivo Van Hove, together with the scenic and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld is, alone, more than enough reason to see the show.

And the basic idea of the show, traced back to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is, also, more than enough reason to see the show.

Finally, with all those spectacular elements put together, the show is AMAZING! There are few times in life when one finds so much energy, and pleasure, and tragedy, and brilliance in less than two hours.

Dharon E. Jones and the cast of WEST SIDE STORY 2020
Photo by Jan Versweyveld.

That said, here are some other thoughts, which include some hints for enjoying the show, as well as some spoilers:

  • The action of West Side Story arises from the conflict of two gangs -- the resident black Jets, and the newly arrived Puerto Rican Sharks. 
  • but it is not always easy, in the heat of dancing, fighting action, to understand who is who, or which is which. 
  • In the first photo below, the color theme of the Sharks is reddish, and of the Jets bluish, which helps, but in the photo below that it is much less clear.
  • Similarly, the Jets are mostly dark skinned, and the Sharks lighter skinned, but in both pictures below, it is not true of everyone.
  • In fact Tony is one of the least Jet-like members of the Jets, and Maria one of the least Shark-like Sharks.
  • Is this the point?

Shereen Pimentel, Isaac Powell, 
and the cast of WEST SIDE STORY 2020
Photos by Jan Versweyveld
  • I have little knowledge of dance. For me, the difference in style of the dancing of the Jets and the Sharks was too subtle to be understood as truly significant.

  • As in Rome and Juliet, the initial meeting of the two young lovers, here Tony and Maria, must be instantaneous and spectacular love at first sight.  Although Shereen Pimentel and Isaac Powell, as performers, convey throughout the play a convincing bond, and they sing together beautifully, at first they seem like an unlikely couple, (in addition to the feeling described above, that neither is a spot-on archetype of their group).

A note about seating: Some very significant events in the play happen on the floor. It is nice to be very close to the stage, because you feel connected to the actors. (In fact, when the action happens in the rooms behind the wall, and both the actors and their video images are visible, it is the video that seems more real, because the actors seem so small in comparison.) Nevertheless, for at least the first rows of seats in the orchestra, the stage is some inches above eye level; so it may be advantageous to sit in the mezzanine.

A note about the show: The show runs less than 2 hours.  There is no intermission.  There is no late seating!

Another note: Steven Spielberg, completely independent of the Broadway production, will release a filmed version of West Side Story, expected in December, 2020.


The story is a tragedy caused by unnecessary and terrible tribalism and hate. 

(Spoiler: Every time I see Romeo & Juliet, I keep hoping that this time, they will find a way to prevent the tragedy. 

In fact, there have been adaptations --  with a bad reputation -- versions which have a more happy ending. In West Side Story, the end is somewhat altered, but much tragedy remains.)

The story was a tragedy caused by hate 400 years ago when Shakespeare wrote Romeo & Juliet; and it is still a tragedy; and there is still tribal hate today.  

In West Side Story, the story just ends, there is no moral explicitly attached. Everyone must take away their own take-away. Shakespeare, however, gave the Prince a closing coda, in part blaming himself, the man in charge:


Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
See: What a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.

And I, for winking at your discords, too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: 

all are punish'd.


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Friday, February 07, 2020



MARCH 5-15 2020
Opening Night
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s
starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke,
 with Binoche and Hawke in person

Confirmed to appear in person at the fest are: 
Stéphane Batut, Juliette Binoche, Pascal Bonitzer, Lucie Borleteau, 
Maïmouna Doucouré, Bruno Dumont, Ethan Hawke, Mehdi Idir, Cédric Klapisch,
 Claude Lelouch, Chiara Mastroianni, Mounia Meddour, Safy Nebbou, 
Nicolas Pariser, Sarah Suco, Alice Winocour, and Rebecca Zlotowski.

UPDATE 3/5/2020

"UniFrance has suspended international travel for Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival guests due to health concerns related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The festival’s screenings will continue as planned, but unfortunately, most in-person appearances will be canceled."

For more information, please see:

The 2020 Opening Night selection is the New York premiere of The Truth, the first-ever French-language film from Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda. Featuring screen legends Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche as a strained mother-daughter duo, The Truth is a dynamic family drama co-starring Ethan Hawke. Binoche and Hawke will appear in person at the festival for opening night, and for a special conversation about their collaboration with Kore-eda.
Highlights of the 22-film lineup include a number of prizewinning titles and festival hits, including 

For the first time ever, the festival is introducing an Audience Award, sponsored by Air France, allowing moviegoers the chance to give a prize to their favorite film.
Associate Director of Programming Florence Almozini said "This year's edition of Rendez-Vous brings a global perspective to French cinema, with the first French-language film from Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda alongside films that explore the traumas of Algerian Civil War, cultural differences and integrations in French suburbia, or environmentalism all the way to the Arctic Circle. 
"Rendez-Vous showcases the strength of French cinema today and tomorrow, with exciting new work from returning filmmakers like Pascal Bonitzer, Rebecca Zlotowski, Quentin Dupieux, and Christophe Honoré; remarkable debut films from Stéphane Batut, Sarah Suco, Mounia Meddour, and Maïmouna Doucouré; and stunning performances from some of France's greatest actresses, including Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, and Eva Green."
This year’s lineup also features a number of new works from returning Rendez-Vous filmmakers, including 

Confirmed to appear in person at the fest are: Stéphane Batut, Juliette Binoche, Pascal Bonitzer, Lucie Borleteau, Maïmouna Doucouré, Bruno Dumont, Ethan Hawke, Mehdi Idir, Cédric Klapisch, Claude Lelouch, Chiara Mastroianni, Mounia Meddour, Safy Nebbou, Nicolas Pariser, Sarah Suco, Alice Winocour, and Rebecca Zlotowski.
Special events and free talks include a rare opening day conversation between Binoche and Hawke on March 5; Alice Winocour in conversation with a surprise guest about exploring space on film; a discussion and book signing with UniFrance President Serge Toubiana upon the release of his new book on the legendary cinema figure Helen Scott; and a filmmaker panel focusing on adapting literature to the screen in partnership with French in Motion and IFP.
The 2020 festival, as always, places a focus on young people, with school screenings of School Life and Spread Your Wings for middle and high schoolers, as well as college students. In conjunction, the festival is holding a contest for cinephiles under 30: interested writers can submit a review of a Rendez-Vous film of their choice, and the best critique will win a round-trip flight to Paris and a free one-year subscription to TV5MONDE. Visit in the coming weeks for more information. Additionally, the festival is expanding its industry-facing events with a day-long networking event to bring together French sales agents, French producers, and key American industry players on Friday, March 6.
Organized by Florence Almozini with UniFrance.   
Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 20, with early access for Film at Lincoln Center members beginning Tuesday, February 18. Tickets are $17; $12 for members, students, seniors, and persons with disabilities; Opening Night tickets are $25; $20 for members and students. Learn more at
All screenings take place at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W 65th St) unless otherwise noted.
Opening NightThe Truth / La vérité
Hirokazu Kore-eda, France/Japan, 2019, 106m
French and English with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In his follow-up to the Palme d’Or–winning Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda casts two titans of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, in a film structured around the rippling tensions underlying a family gathering. With controlled intensity, Deneuve plays Fabienne, a screen icon preparing to publish her memoirs. The version of her life as presented on the page, however, is critiqued by her daughter Lumir (Binoche), visiting Fabienne’s secluded home with her American TV actor husband (Ethan Hawke) and their young daughter. Resentments seep out—and eventually explode—as Fabienne and Lumir confront the reality of their dynamic; meanwhile, their drama begins to affect Fabienne’s next project, in which she uneasily shares the screen with a rising young actress (Manon Clavel). Kore-eda deftly grapples with aging, memory, and guilt, while locating a tenderness that can thaw even the deepest-rooted conflicts. An IFC Films release.
Thursday, March 5, 6:30pm (Introduced by Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke)
Thursday, March 5, 9:15pm
Alice and the Mayor / Alice et le maire
Nicolas Pariser, France/Belgium, 2019, 103m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Alice (Anaïs Demoustier) leaves her Oxford philosophy professorship for a new communications post at the mayor’s office in her hometown of Lyon. But when the mayor (Fabrice Luchini) confides in her that he’s having trouble generating any ideas to improve the city, Alice realizes that her true task is to reawaken the progressive spirit that inspired his initial run for office. Directed by Nicolas Pariser (2016 Rendez-Vous highlight The Great Game) and featuring supporting turns from Nora Hamzawi (Non-Fiction) and Antoine Reinartz (BPM), Alice and the Mayor finds an unsentimental urgency in idealism, unfolding in heartfelt and thought-provoking conversations that inspire meaningful political action over empty rhetoric. A selection of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight.
Saturday, March 7, 1:00pm (Q&A with Nicolas Pariser)
Wednesday, March 11, 9:30pm
The Best Years of a Life / Les plus belles années d’une vie
Claude Lelouch, France, 2019, 90m
French and Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In this stirring sequel to Claude Lelouch’s classic 1966 Palme d’Or–winner A Man and a Woman, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée reprise their roles. Jean-Louis (Trintignant) now struggles with dementia in a nursing home, unable to recall his glory days as a racecar driver; his former lover Anne (Aimée) has retired from producing films to maintain a fabric shop in sleepy Normandy. But then Jean-Louis’s son (Antoine Sire) seeks out Anne to remind his now prickly and standoffish father of the affair that once brought him so much joy. With a thoughtful, ruminative script by Lelouch and Valérie Perrin, The Best Years of a Life weaves a career-spanning tapestry for Trintignant, Aimée, and Lelouch, and traces the indelible arc of life as it’s lived.
Saturday, March 7, 3:45pm (Q&A with Claude Lelouch and Valérie Perrin)
Burning Ghost / Vif-argent
Stéphane Batut, France, 2019, 104m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Winner of the prestigious Prix Jean Vigo, this smoldering feature debut from Stéphane Batut—a renowned casting director whose credits include Let the Sunshine In and Stranger by the Lake—is an entrancing tale of love and loss. Juste (Thimotée Robart) drifts through a liminal Paris: able to see spirits of the dead, he guides them into the afterlife, while at the same time he’s unsettled in his own personal purgatory. Entirely by chance, he runs into long-lost acquaintance Agathe (Judith Chemla of A Woman’s Life), and falls into an entanglement that’s not quite compatible with his ethereal world. Burning Ghost locates an aching romanticism that precariously exists on the precipice between life and death.
Tuesday, March 10, 1:45pm
Friday, March 13, 6:30pm (Q&A with Stéphane Batut)
Cuties / Mignonnes
Maïmouna Doucouré, France, 2020, 95m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Shy 11-year-old Amy (Fathia Youssouf Abdillahi) becomes fascinated by her self-possessed neighbor Anjelica when she spots her dancing in their apartment building’s laundry room. So when Amy discovers that Anjelica is part of a hip-hop dance troupe, the “Cuties,” she tries her best to fit in with the group, already deep in training for a local competition. Amy masters the routine, but her newfound talents conflict with her family’s traditional expectations for the woman she should become; meanwhile her mother anxiously awaits her father’s return from Senegal with his second wife. Maïmouna Doucouré’s vibrant debut feature, which screened at both Sundance and the Berlin Film Festival, is exceptionally attuned to the internal yearnings and external pressures of adolescence. A Netflix release.
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30pm (Q&A with Maïmouna Doucouré)
Thursday, March 12, 2:00pm
The Dazzled / Les éblouis
Sarah Suco, France, 2019, 99m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Actress-turned-director Sarah Suco’s debut feature is a mesmerizing slow burn set in an insular Catholic community. When promising 12-year-old acrobat Camille (a breakout Céleste Brunnquell) performs in a sketch that seems to make light of prayer, the church’s leader—known only as “The Shepherd” (Jean-Pierre Darroussin of Le Havre)—asks her parents to withdraw her from circus training. Her mother (Camille Cottin) has become emotionally dependent on the parish, while her father (Éric Caravaca, Lover for a Day) seems brainwashed; amidst this, covertly secular Camille and her younger brothers must come into their own.
Sunday, March 8, 6:30pm (Q&A with Sarah Suco)
Friday, March 13, 4:15pm
Deerskin / Le daim
Quentin Dupieux, France, 2019, 77m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars in this rollicking, absurdist, and lightly surrealist take on the midlife crisis movie, directed by Rendez-Vous mainstay Quentin Dupieux (Reality, Keep an Eye Out!). Georges (Dujardin) drops several thousand Euros on an Easy Rider–style, 100%-deerskin jacket, then absconds to a country inn in a sleepy town far away from his wife. There, he starts experimenting with a mini-DV camcorder, enlisting the help of an aspiring film editor (Portrait of Lady on Fire’s Adèle Haenel) to assemble a most unusual docufiction—for which a certain garment comes to act as an unconventional muse. Dupieux’s romp—in which ATM withdrawal freezes, parka confiscations, and a repurposed ceiling fan all play unforgettable roles—opened last year’s Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. A Greenwich Entertainment release.
Sunday, March 8, 9:15pm
Saturday, March 14, 9:00pm
An Easy Girl / Une fille facile
Rebecca Zlotowski, France, 2019, 92m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
During a sweltering summer on the beaches of Cannes, 16-year-old Naïma (Mina Farid) passes languid days working in a restaurant and preparing for acting auditions with her close friend Dodo (Lakdhar Dridi). When her glamorous cousin Sofia (Zahia Dehar) arrives for an extended stay, Naima begins to shadow her seemingly thrilling lifestyle, which gets complicated when Sofia becomes entangled with two art dealers (Nuno Lopes and The Piano Teacher’s Benoît Magimel). Breezy yet sumptuous, Rebecca Zlotowski’s fourth feature (her previous, Planetarium, played at Rendez-Vous in 2017) taps into the universal hunger of adolescence, and imbues an empathetic coming-of-age story with a sharp class critique. A Netflix release.
Saturday, March 7, 9:00pm (Q&A with Rebecca Zlotowski)
Thursday, March 12, 4:00pm
Happy Birthday / Fête de famille
Cédric Kahn, France/Belgium, 2019, 101m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Both buoyant and bittersweet, this perceptive ensemble piece directed by Cédric Kahn (whose Wild Life played in Rendez-Vous 2015) and headlined by Catherine Deneuve tests the ties that bind a family. Deneuve is matriarch Andréa, whose family comes together to celebrate her 70th birthday. Everything seems to be in order with her strait-laced son (Kahn) and his family, as well as with her more free-spirited son (Non-Fiction’s Vincent Macaigne), who plans to document the gathering on video. But when her mentally unstable daughter Claire (Emmanuelle Bercot, Cannes Best Actress winner for My King) reappears after three years, old resentments surface, not least from the teenager (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Luàna Bajrami) Claire abandoned. Kahn coaxes mood swings of warmth and vitriol from his cast in a film that takes place over the course of one hectic day.
Thursday, March 12, 9:15pm
Sunday, March 15, 6:15pm
Isadora’s Children / Les enfants d’Isadora
Damien Manivel, France/South Korea, 2019, 84m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Dance legend Isadora Duncan responded to the tragic death of her children by choreographing a three-part piece called Mother. In Isadora’s Children, Damien Manivel depicts a trio of characters engaging with Duncan’s work of art: an introspective choreographer (Agathe Bonitzer) feeling her way through the piece’s movements; a dance teacher and her student rehearsing the dance for a recital; and a member of the audience (played by renowned dancer and choreographer Elsa Wolliaston), who carries the memory of the performance through a solitary evening. Manivel, who won Best Director at the Locarno Film Festival, makes something hypnotic out of precisely timed gestures, and explores how to infuse a choreographed routine with a shared, intimate humanity.
Friday, March 3, 4:00pm
Saturday, March 14, 2:00pm
Joan of Arc / Jeanne
Bruno Dumont, France, 2019, 137m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Ten-year-old Lise Leplat Prudhomme commands the center of Bruno Dumont’s inventive reimagining of the story of Joan of Arc, a sequel to Dumont’s musical Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2017) that’s singular and entrancing enough to stand on its own. Joan, compelled by visions of God, leads the French charge against invading English forces, and is later captured and put on trial for heresy. Although this chapter is cinematically well-trod, Dumont turns it into an uncanny, absurdist mood piece, strikingly shot amid rolling hills and vaulted cathedrals. As legendary singer-songwriter Christophe’s synthesizers slice through the droll stillness, Joan comes into her own, gaining a gravitas that makes her a force to be reckoned with. As always, Dumont proves his mastery with this enthralling, witty, and deeply rewarding work. A KimStim release.
Wednesday, March 11, 6:15pm (Q&A with Bruno Dumont)
Friday, March 13, 1:30pm
On a Magical Night / Chambre 212
Christophe Honoré, France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 2019, 87m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Chiara Mastroianni won Best Actress in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section for her fierce performance in this playful, fantastical spin on a Rohmerian moral tale, the latest from Christophe Honoré (Sorry Angel, NYFF56). Mastroianni is law professor Maria, whose 25-year marriage to Richard (singer-songwriter Benjamin Biolay) is ruptured when he discovers texts from Maria’s younger lover on her phone. After checking into a hotel across the street, she doesn’t exactly find herself alone with her thoughts: over the course of a hallucinatory evening, she’s visited by a series of impossible guests, including Richard’s twenty-something self (Vincent Lacoste) and the embodiment of her own free will (Stéphane Roger). Honoré’s stylish and sensual aesthetic makes for a swooning reflection on love and memory that becomes even more heartrending thanks to the brilliant cast. A Strand Releasing release.
Friday, March 6, 8:45pm (Q&A with Chiara Mastroianni)
Monday, March 9, 4:15pm
Mounia Meddour, France/Algeria/Belgium/Qatar, 2019, 106m
French and Arabic with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri) is a university student during the Algerian Civil War. Although she’s studying French, her passion is fashion design: defying religious conservatism, she custom-makes dresses for her peers that are examples of individual expression. Attacks on civilians are on the rise from fundamentalist Islamist sects, and a shocking incident drives Nedjma to stage a unique protest: a fashion show centered around repurposing the haik, a traditional veil, into secular garments. Anchored by a remarkable naturalism and camaraderie among its lead actresses (especially from Khoudri and Shirine Boutella), Papicha—a highlight of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section—tells an unflinching story of resistance and resilience, and marks an inspired, sometimes harrowing debut for Mounia Meddour. A Distrib Films release.
Friday, March 6, 1:45pm
Thursday, March 12, 6:15pm (Q&A with Mounia Meddour)
Perfect Nanny / Chanson douce
Lucie Borleteau, France, 2019, 100m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Seeking a nanny, young parents Myriam (Leïla Bekhti) and Paul (Antoine Reinartz) think they’ve found the perfect solution in Louise (Karin Viard). She comes with glowing references from multiple families, and she immediately takes a shine to their two young children. But as Myriam reimmerses herself in her legal job, Louise entrenches herself deeper and deeper into their family life, her behavior growing ever stranger. Under the watchful eye of director Lucie Borleteau (Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey, Rendez-Vous 2015), this adaptation of Leïla Slimani’s best-seller becomes a vividly detailed, unsettling thriller that probes our tendencies to trust those we barely know. A Distrib Films release.
Monday, March 9, 6:15pm (Q&A with Lucie Borleteau)
Wednesday, March 11, 1:45pm
Alice Winocour, France/Germany, 2019, 107m
English, French, Russian, and German with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Sarah (Eva Green), an astronaut living in Cologne, is selected for a yearlong spaceflight to help pave the way for future voyages to Mars. Before liftoff, she must spend a grueling year at a training facility in Moscow, which separates her from her young daughter (Zélie Boulant), left in the care of her ex-husband (Clouds of Sils Maria’s Lars Eidinger). Highly aware that she’s the only woman involved in the mission, Sarah tries to stay focused and stoic, suppressing any weaknesses that her condescending captain (Matt Dillon) might notice, and trying to soothe her daughter’s newfound loneliness from afar. Set to an atmospheric score from Ryuichi Sakamoto, the third feature from Alice Winocour (Disorder, Rendez-Vous 2016) wrestles poignantly with the earthly loose ends and internal pressures of space travel. A Vertical Entertainment release.
Saturday, March 7, 6:15pm (Q&A with Alice Winocour)
Tuesday, March 10, 9:15pm
School Life / La vie scolaire
Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir, France, 2019, 111m
French and Arabic with English subtitles
North American Premiere
The new vice principal of a middle school in Parisian suburb Saint Denis, Samia (Zita Hanrot, from Paul Sanchez Is Back!) is warned by her fellow teachers that the students are unmotivated and hard to discipline. She sees things differently, however, when she gets to know the students, especially Yanis (Liam Pierron), who’s sharp and driven but disillusioned by a world that seems to have turned its back on him and his family. Slam poet Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir’s second collaboration after 2016’s Step by Step is both vivid institutional critique and lively ensemble piece—a rousing look at the importance of encouraging untapped potential despite institutional odds. A Netflix release.
Sunday, March 8, 1:00pm (Q&A with Mehdi Idir)
Tuesday, March 10, 4:00pm
Someone, Somewhere / Deux moi
Cédric Klapisch, France/Belgium, 2019, 110m
French with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In this almost-romance from Cédric Klapisch (Paris, Rendez-Vous 2008), warehouse employee Rémy (François Civil) and research assistant Mélanie (Ana Girardot) have never met, but they live parallel lives: they reside in neighboring apartment buildings, ride the same subway route, and are troubled by bouts of insomnia and depression. Their days punctuated by unfulfilling jobs, they seek meaningful romantic and platonic connection. As they stumble through psychotherapy, dating apps, fainting spells, and family visits, the seemingly star-crossed duo orbit around each other but remain just out of reach. Klapisch spins a delicate “what-if” from their compartmentalization, exploring our increasingly hermetic modern urban life. A Distrib Films release.
Monday, March 9, 9:00pm (Q&A with Cédric Klapisch)
Saturday, March 14, 6:30pm
South Terminal / Terminal Sud
Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, France, 2019, 96m
French and Arabic with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
The haunting, experiential latest from Rabah Ameur Zaïmeche (Story of Judas, Rendez-Vous 2016) centers on a doctor (Ramzy Bedia) in nineties Algeria, which is rapidly becoming a war zone. He spends his days tending to the wounded and comforting the suffering, yet maintains a stoic neutrality toward the ambiguous conflict, resolving that his job is simply to help those in pain. But once he starts receiving death threats and horrors begin to encroach on his own life, his moral position is shaken. As each day’s work wears on the doctor, the inhumanity of the violence turns his life into a purgatory, pushing him to question whether or not more drastic action might be called for.
Wednesday, March 11, 4:00pm
Sunday, March 15, 4:00pm
The Specials / Hors normes
Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, France, 2019, 114m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
This heartfelt comic drama from the directing duo behind The Intouchables (Rendez-Vous 2012) targets structural neglect in the French medical system. Bruno (Vincent Cassel) runs a shelter for autistic young people turned away by hospitals, while his friend Malik (Reda Kateb) mentors underprivileged youths seeking employment. Both men, based on real-life people, are constantly frustrated by the lack of consistent funding and institutional support—which eventually leads them to confront the government head-on. With help from a spirited ensemble, The Specials—the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s closing night selection—crackles with fiery commitment as Bruno and Malik advocate for those living on the margins.
Saturday, March 14, 4:00pm
Sunday, March 15, 8:45pm
Spellbound / Les envoûtés
Pascal Bonitzer, France, 2019, 90m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
An uncanny triangle emerges in this update of Henry James’s short story “The Way It Came,” directed by Pascal Bonitzer (Right Here Right Now, Rendez-Vous 2017). Book critic Coline (Sara Giraudeau) is assigned a profile of a reclusive, brooding painter (Let the Sunshine In’s Nicolas Duvauchelle), who claims to have seen his mother’s spirit just before her death. Curiously, Coline’s close friend (Anabel Lopez), also an artist, says she witnessed an apparition of her father on the brink of his sudden passing, as well. An ethereal brew of lust, grief, and jealousy propels this transfixing story of invisible frequencies and mortal hungers. 
Sunday, March 8, 4:00pm (Q&A with Pascal Bonitzer)
Friday, March 13, 9:15pm
Spread Your Wings / Donne moi des ailes
Nicolas Vanier, France/Norway, 2019, 113m
English, French, and Norwegian with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Sulky teenager Thomas (Louis Vazquez) dreads spending summer with his father (Jean-Paul Rouve), an environmentalist in a rural, wifi-less hamlet. Much to his surprise, he grows attached to his father’s new project: an ambitious plan to train a flock of endangered geese to follow a new migratory path, avoidant of pollution and human-made threats. The duo embarks on a journey to the Arctic circle with an ultralight glider, which they’ll fly to guide the geese along their new route. Writer-director Nicolas Vanier (Loup) channels his passion for nature into this tale of our civic responsibility to protect it, a freewheeling adventure of both suspense and enlightening civic action.
Sunday, March 15, 1:30pm
Who You Think I Am / Celle que vous croyez
Safy Nebbou, France/Belgium, 2019, 101m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Juliette Binoche balances impulsiveness, determination, and vulnerability as only she can in Who You Think I Am, Safy Nebbou’s follow-up to her survivalist drama In the Forest of Siberia (Rendez-Vous, 2017). Heartbroken after a breakup with her twentysomething boyfriend, philosophy professor Claire (Binoche) longs to stay close to him. On Facebook, she adds her ex’s good friend Alex (François Civil) so that she can browse though his tagged photos; yet to hide her identity, she uses a profile for a 24-year-old alter ego named Clara. When Alex messages her—and she begins responding as Clara—Claire’s plans veer into uncharted territory. In this ingenious adaptation of Camille Laurens’s best-seller, Nebbou turns a romantic comedy premise into a dizzying and dangerous game of mirrors between the real and the virtual. A Cohen Media release.
Friday, March 6, 6:00pm (Q&A with Safy Nebbou and Juliette Binoche)
Monday, March 9, 2:00pm

The Truth with Juliette Binoche and Ethan HawkeOver the past thirty years, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke have been icons of French and American film acting, respectively. They have collaborated for the first time on The Truth, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters, and the Opening Night selection of this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In this intimate, in-depth conversation between professional peers, Binoche and Hawke will discuss the experience of working with Kore-eda on his first French-language film, and the process of probing the dynamics of married life and intergenerational family drama in the context of hyperconnected 21st-century life.
Thursday, March 5, 5:00pm
Exploring Space on FilmAt a moment when we are increasingly looking to the stars for a vision of a future and a path forward, filmmakers around the world have responded by transposing timeless themes of love, loss, family ties, and spiritual transcendence from the earth to the realm of outer space. The result has been a rich bounty of films contemplating what might become of humanity once we leave our planet behind. In this talk, Alice Winocour, director of the astronaut drama Proxima, will explore the variety of approaches that artists have taken to crafting such stories, and how those perspectives differ across countries, genres, genders, and production contexts.
Saturday, March 7, 5:00pm
Serge Toubiana on Helen ScottCelebrated author Serge Toubiana, president of Unifrance and former director of the Cinematheque française, will discuss the life and work of Helen Scott, subject of his latest book, L'amie américaine. A legendary figure for film buffs on both sides of the Atlantic, Helen Scott is perhaps best known for her passionate work and friendship with François Truffaut, but she led a fascinating and mysterious life all her own. A book signing with Toubiana will follow the talk. Presented in collaboration with Albertine Books.
Sunday, March 8, 3:00pm
From Book to FilmCinema and literature are deeply interconnected art forms that keep inspiring each other. What are the challenges and implications of adapting a book to the screen, and how does literature nurture cinema? How do films allow creators and audiences not only to revisit but also reimagine familiar narratives? What are the concrete steps one must take to adapt a book? And how can the power of literature and words influence screenwriting and filmmaking? A selection of French and American filmmakers and writers will join to discuss these topics. Presented in partnership with French in Motion and IFP.
Monday, March 9, 5:00pm    

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Saturday, February 01, 2020







2020-01-31 (FRI JAN 31, 2020)



  • has separated from Europe. BrExit is done.


2020-01-30 (THU JAN 30, 2020)



  • was declared a WORLD HEALTH EMERGENCY by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • UPDATE 1/31/2020: The Dow Jones Industrial average lost well over 650 points on Friday; the decline was ascribed mostly to the potential effects on the economy of the coronavirus.


2020-01-29 (WED JAN 29, 2020)



  • a new, large (12,000 sq feet; 3 levels), location based gaming site, allowing people to experience VR has opened in New York.



  • at the World Economic Forum in Davos:


2020-01-28 (TUE JAN 28, 2020)



  • has been proposed by the White House.
  • The Palestinians did not participate in its development and seem to have so far rejected it.
  • News accounts and analysis in the US have generally suggested it is favorable to Israel; and even more, that it is in part intended to support Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is his next election.
  • Here is the full text of the proposal:


2020-01-27 (MON JAN 27, 2020)





If you ever receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Help Center: #FCCtips #ProtectingConsumers


Adam Schiff
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the six million Jews and other victims of Nazism. We honor their memories by speaking out against anti-Semitism, injustice, and hatred in all forms. Never Again.



  • 5 confirmed cases in US.
  • 110 cases under investigation.
  • No evidence virus is spreading in the uS; cases are isolated.
  • 16 countries have cases.
  • Avoid travel to Hubei province (where cases began in Wuhan).
  • Be careful about travel anywhere in China.
  • Other sources estimate: about 3000 cases worldwide, 80+ deaths.
  • Side note: The spread of coronavirus is "blamed" for a stock selloff in Europe and the US.


2020-01-26 (SUN JAN 26, 2020)




2020-01-25 (SAT JAN 25, 2020)



  • one of the country's leading organizations dedicating to developing theater professionals has announced an impressive collection of events coming in the next few months, including: 
    • a panel on Festivals: Working Hard to Give Your Show A Chance;
    • Speeddate --the Art of the Pitch -- for writers and producers, giving writers a chance to practice their pitch to a room full of working, investing producers;
    •  a three part workshop on Writing a Musical That Works
    • with other resources available from their site:


2020-01-24 (FRI JAN 24, 2020)




2020-01-23 (THU JAN 23, 2020)



  • has responded to the new Coronavirus scare and pandemic threat vigorously by quickly alerting the world, and enabling a quick sequencing of the virus,
  • and by halting transportation to and from -- essentially quarantining -- cities (and even parts of cities) where the illness is prevalent.
  • The US has responded by screening passengers on flights from areas where the virus has been detected. 
  • At least one person has been confirmed with the virus in the US.


TODAY: 2020-01-22 (WED JAN 22, 2020)



  • Google has been my search engine. It works well.
  • Suddenly all my searches were conducted by Yahoo (now belonging to Verizon).
  • Earlier, while I was trying to add my "brand" channel to YouTubeVR, for some reason I seemed to have had to register for some other things first. This seems to have hijacked the search engine.
  • Here's how I fixed it: 
  • By going to the three vertical dots at the top right of Chrome, I scrolled to Settings, then to Search engine, and disabled Yahoo search and the program that was controlling the choice of search. This fixed the problem.
  • I have found Google Search to be the best search. I set this as the default. 
  • There may be other ways that Yahoo (or some other search engine) can hijack the search, but this method is likely to work in many cases.


2020-01-21 (TUE JAN 21, 2020)



  • begins today.





2020-01-20 (MON JAN 20, 2020)


Today is a holiday: Martin Luther King Jr Day




  • The SAG awards were pretty similar to the awards from GG (Golden Globes) and CC (Critics Circle) wherever they overlapped.
  • For the Oscars, now, the only categories in which there is major suspense are Best Picture (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood or Parasite or The Irishman  or 1917) and Best Director (Respectively Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, Martin Scorcese, and Sam Mendes)

  • Here are these awards, so far:
  • The Producer's Guild went with 1917.
  • SAG with Parasite (cast)
  • GG with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (comedy  & screenplay) & 1917 (drama & director)
  • CC with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Picture) &
  • 1917 & Parasite (Director - tied!)

  • The SAG Awards went to:
  • Robert De Niro - Lifetime Achievement (Passionate political talk!)
  • “Parasite” - Cast
  • Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” - Actor in a Film (good talk!), 
  • Renée Zellweger, “Judy” - Actress in a Film, 
  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood”Supporting Actor in a Film (funny!), 
  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” - Supporting Actress in a Film, 
  • “The Crown” - Ensemble in a TV Drama Series, 
  • Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” - Actor in a TV Drama Series, 
  • Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show” - Actress in a TV Drama Series, 
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” - Ensemble in a TV Comedy Series
  • Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” - Actor in a TV Comedy Series, 
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag” - Actress in a TV Comedy Series,
  • Sam Rockwell, “Fosse/Verdon” - Actor in a TV Mini-series, 
  • Michelle Williams, “Fosse/Verdon” - Actress in a TV Mini-series,. 
  • Presenters & nominees diverse
  • Winners all white, mostly British when possible.

To see what films and which actors have been celebrated in other awards this year... AND in the last five years, please see:

2020-01-19 (SUN JAN 19, 2020)






To see what films and which actors have been celebrated in other awards this year... AND in the last five years, please see:


2020-01-18 (SAT JAN 18, 2020)



  • the British Theater company that developed the (fantastic!) Sleep No More has developed a resource guide for immersive theater.
  • Immersive theater is a sibling to immersive video.


2020-01-17 (FRI JAN 17, 2020)




  • has a new member, as Alphabet/Google, joins Apple and Microsoft with a market capitalization of more than a trillion $$$dollars.



  • has a new member, as Donald J Trump joins Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson as the only Presidents to face an impeachment trial.
  • Clinton and Johnson were not convicted.
  • Richard Nixon avoided impeachment by resigning.



  • will have a new member on Sunday with the SAG Awards.
  • The SAG awards are voted on by actors, and may have a different take from the Golden Globes and Critics Circle awards, which are both critics' rather than performers' choices.
  • Sunday, Jan 19, 2020
  • Red Carpet: TNT 5:30 PM ET
  • Awards Ceremony: TNT & TBS 8:00 ET 


  • will have a new member as the plans for NBCU Peacock are announced.
  • Content for Peacock with include both movies and NBC shows.
  • Peacock will have 3 tiers:
    • Free with ads (>7,500 hours of content)
    • Premium $5 with ads (>15,000 hours of contents & sports)
    • Premium $10 with no ads.
  • Some features of Peacock will launch on April 15,; more on July 15, 2020
  • Peacock joins other current and future streaming services including...
    • Netflix
    • Apple TV+
    • Disney+
    • Quibi (original, short, phone-targeted content - see below 2020-01-08)
    • HBO Max


2020-01-16 (THU JAN 16, 2020)






  • "Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors",
  • have been read at the Senate.
  • The Chief Justice and the Senators have been sworn in for the impeachment trial.
  • In related news, the GAO has released an opinion that the delay of funds for the Ukraine was illegal.


2020-01-15 (WED JAN 15, 2020)



  • "Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors",
  • are scheduled to be transmitted to the Senate about 5:00 PM EST today.





2020-01-14 (TUE JAN 14, 2020)



  • Tonight: The last Democratic debate before the Iowa Caucuses (Feb 3, 2020), at which  49 delegates to the Democratic Convention (July 13-16 2020) will be chosen.  
  • There will be a national total of 4,750 delegates.
  • Participants in the debate are:
    • Former VP Joe Biden
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren
    • Senator Bernie Sanders
    • Senator Amy Klobuchar
    • Mayor Pete Buttegeig
    • Businessman Tom Steyer
  • Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is also competing for the Democratic nomination is not in this debate.


2020-01-13 (MON JAN 13, 2020)



  • The nominations for the Academy Awards are similar to those for the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice. BEST in each category is likely to be a reflection of the slightly different sensibilities of the members of these groups. GG voters are foreign critics; CC voters are North American critics; and AA voters are in the film industry, making the films.
  • Joker had the highest number of nominations, 11.
  • The films at the top of the list seem to be:
  • 1917 (10)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (10)
  • Parasite (6)
  • The Irishman (10)
  • Joker (11)
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story 
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4
  • Here's the list of all the nominees:


  • The Critics Choice Awards winners included:

    • Best picture: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,
    • Best Foreign Language Picture: Parasite,
    • Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix,
    • Best Actress: Renee Zellweger
    • Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,
    • Best Director: Bong Joon-ho & Sam Mendes (tie)
  • For all the results, including TV, please see:


2020-01-12 (SUN JAN 12, 2020)




2020-01-11 (SAT JAN 11, 2020)



  • is being presented (in a "strictly limited" engagement -- with many dates already sold out) at "the McKittrick Hotel", home of Sleep No More.
  • Everything I've ever attended there has been exceptionally fine.
  • This is the adaptation of Susan Hill's novel by Stephen Mallatratt, directed by Robin Herford, that was a huge success in London. 


2020-01-10 (FRI JAN 10, 2020)



  • co-sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
  • will be held this year in Brooklyn.
  • Saturday Feb 1, 2020 7 PM to Sunday Feb 2, 2020 7 AM.


2020-01-09 (THU JAN 9, 2020)



  • one of the oldest, best, and least expensive acting studios in NY (or anywhere else) is starting a new term.
  • HB has classes for everyone from beginner to professional; both a la carte and complete programs; and a wide variety of courses and workshops and performing opportunities.
  • HB Studio is especially friendly as a destination for visiting students from other countries.
  • Among the special offerings this winter are "studio practice" with Mercedes Ruehl, concentration in Ibsen with Austin Pendleton, and courses in acting in Spanish (Actuar en espagnol) and in the Russian language:
  • Snezhana Chernova - СНЕЖАНА ЧЕРНОВА


    2020-01-08 (WED JAN 8, 2020)



      • JAN 7-10, 2020

      • QUIBI (QUIck BItes) is a new content streaming service, created by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, which aims to bring A-level content from A-level talent to smartphones... by designing the content visually to be optimized for the phone-sized screen, and by cutting the content into bite-sized segments (quick bites), so it can easily be watched on the go, on the phone.
      • It will launch on April 6, and will cost $4.99/mo with ads, or $7.99 without ads.
      • According to the WSJ, QUIBI had already sold $150M worth of ads as of October 21, 2019.
      • By the way, as of today, they have 28 open positions on their site.


    2020-01-07 (TUE JAN 7, 2020)






      • SpaceX successfully launched a rocket and returned Stage 1 successfully back to Earth.
      • SpaceX is now the largest operator of Satellites.
      • Tesla successfully delivered cars to Chinese customers from its new Chinese factory.
      • Tesla stocks and valuation reached a new high, with a capitalization of over $84.5B.


      2020-01-06 (MON JAN 6, 2020)



      • Here is the Samsung Keynote - first the full video version, then the highlights with a short synopsis video 
      • Highlights:
        • Ballie - a ball shaped robot/personal assistant
        • GEMS - a software and AR enhanced exoskeleton
        • Smart kitchen, including an enclosed home growing station
        • 5G & AI applications


      FILM & TV


      • Here are the Feature Films with the most wins at last night's Golden Globes:

      • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 5 Nominations, 3 wins
        • Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
        • Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Brad Pitt
        • Best Screenplay
      • 1917 - 3 Nominations, 2 wins
        • Best Dramatic Feature
        • Best Director - Sam Mendes
      • Rocketman - 3 Nominations, 2 wins
        • Best Actor - Musical or Comedy - Taron Egerton
        • Best Song - "I'm Gonna Love Me Again"
      • Joker - 4 Nominations, 2 wins
        • Best Actor - Drama - Joaquin Phoenix
        • Best Original Score
      • Missing Link - Best Animated Feature
      • Parasite - Best Foreign Language Film
      • Judy - Best Actress - Renee Zellweger
      • The Farewell - Best Actress, Musical or Comedy - Awkwafina
      • Marriage Story - 6 Nominations - Best Supporting Actress, Laura Dern


      2020-01-05 (SUN JAN 5, 2020)

      FILM & TV


      • Tonight, NBC 8-11 PM (EST), hosted by Ricky Gervais.
      • Here are the Feature Films with the most nominations:

      • 6 Marriage Story
        5 The Irishman
        5 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
        4 Joker
        4 The Two Popes
        3 Knives Out
        3 1917
        3 Rocketman
        3 Parasite
        2 Dolemite is my name
        2 Jojo Rabbit
        2 Frozen 2
        2 Lion King
        2 The Farewell
        2 Harriet

      Here is the full list of nominees:


      2020-01-03 (FRI JAN 3, 2020)


      Tensions are increasing in the Middle East and around the world, following an Iranian attack on the US Embassy in Iraq, and a US drone strike on an important Iranian General.


      2020-01-02 (THU JAN 2, 2020)


      Calendar for 2020!


      FEB 02 SUN Groundhog Day


      MAR 08 SUN Daylight Saving Time Starts

      APR 08 WED Passover Seder (eve)

      APR 15 WED TAX DAY

      MAY 10 SUN Mother's Day


      JUN 14 SUN Flag Day

      JUN 21 SUN Father's Day




      SEP 18 FRI Rosh Hashanah (eve)
      SEP 27 SUN Yom Kippur (eve)


      NOV 01 SUN Daylight Saving Time Ends


      DEC 10 THU Hanukkah eve)

      DEC 31 THU New Year's Eve


      2020-01-01 (WED JAN 1, 2020)

      HELLO 2020!

      Be good to us! Please!

      We wish everyone on Earth
      A Great New Year!



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