Confinement Comes Up and the Lights Go Down: The Cinémathèque Reopens!

Confinement Comes Up and the Lights Go Down: The Cinémathèque Reopens!
Like Paris’ movie theaters, museums and other cultural centers, the Cinémathèque Française was obliged to close its doors during the severe lockdown imposed by the French government. It kept a certain presence going through its site and on-line activities ranging from e-newletters, podcasts, and movie streaming. After several weeks, it reopened on July 15, one day after Bastille Day. It’s opening on the lighter side, with an exhibition dedicated to France’s cinematic funnyman Louis de Funes. A broad comic, de Funes was more Jerry Lewis (another French favorite) than Jacques Tati. Films like La Grande Vadrouille, Captain Fracasse and The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob are beloved by the French public, though not very well-known abroad. (La Grande Vadrouille remains France’s most succesful film ever) The exhibition features more than 300 extracts from the comic’s films as well as artefacts, such as the costume sketches, inspired by Valasquez paintings, for La Folie des Grandeurs. Later in the summer (August 12 – 30) there will be a retrospective of the oeuvre of Jean-Daniel Pollet, whose films include Le Horla and La Ligne de Mire. Pollet was active in the 1960s and 1970s, and made a series of tragicomic films revolving around a character named Léon, played by Claude Melki, who would be for the director what Jean-Pierre Léaud was for François Truffaut. Pollet turned to more poetic, experimental films, especially Méditerranée (1963). In addition to the temporary exhibits and retrospectives, a summer program of screenings of classic films runs from the re-opening until August 30. Taking in even a fraction of the screenings will give the viewer a substantial film education. Among the offerings are Fédérico Fellini’s Amarcord, Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes, Fritz Lang’s M, Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, Hitchcock’s Psycho, Francois Truuffaut’s The 400 Blows, and Jacques Tati’s Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot. The image gallery below was taken in 1963. It shows Jean-Luc Godard, his team and his stars who have arrived in Capri to shoot Le Mépris, in the spectacular setting of the Villa Malaparte.⁣     View this post on Instagram   A post shared by La Cinémathèque francaise (@cinemathequefr) on Jul 7, 2020 at 7:51am PDT
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Dimitri Keramitas was born and raised in Connecticut, USA, and was educated at the University of Hartford, Sorbonne, and the University of London, and holds degrees in literature and law. He has lived in Paris for years, and directs a training company and translation agency. In addition, he has worked as a film critic for both print and on-line publications, including Bonjour Paris and France Today. He is a contributing editor to Movies in American History. In addition he is an award-winning writer of fiction, whose stories have been published in many literary journals. He is the director of the creative writing program at WICE, a Paris-based organization. He is also a director at the Paris Alumni Network, an organization linking together several hundred professionals, and is the editor of its newletter. The father of two children, Dimitri not only enjoys Paris living but returning to the US regularly and traveling in Europe and elsewhere.