The Seventh Classic French Film Festival
The Seventh Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — co-presented by Cinema St. Louis and the Webster University Film Series — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1930s through the early 1990s, offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The fest is annually highlighted by significant restorations.
This year features recent restorations of eight works, including an extended director’s cut of Patrice Chéreau’s historical epic “Queen Margot”; a New York-set film noir (“Two Men in Manhattan”) by crime-film maestro Jean-Pierre Melville, who also co-stars; a short feature (“A Day in the Country”) by Jean Renoir, on a double bill with the 2006 restoration of his masterpiece, “The Rules of the Game”; and the wild comic adventure “That Man from Rio” with New Wave icon Jean-Paul Belmondo and the tragically short-lived Françoise Dorléac. The fest also features a trio of other newly restored films — Robert Bresson’s “A Man Escaped,” Leos Carax’s “Boy Meets Girl,” and Eric Rohmer’s “A Tale of Winter” — and the 2002 restoration of Jean Cocteau’s timeless version of “Beauty and the Beast.” Every program features introductions and discussions by film scholars and critics. The discussions will place the works in the contexts of both film and French history and provide close analyses. All films are in French with English subtitles.
Venue: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue.
Tickets: $12 general admission; $10 for students, Cinema St. Louis members, and Alliance Française members; free for Webster U. students.
Advance tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at brownpapertickets.com. In the “Find an Event” search box, type “Classic French.” A service charge will apply, and only full-price $12 tickets are available in advance.
Director: Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau’s sublime adaptation of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairytale masterpiece — in which the pure love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast — is a landmark of motion-picture…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Andrew Wyatt, film critic for St. Louis Magazine’s Look/Listen arts-and-entertainment blog and the Gateway Cinephile film blog.
Director: Jean Renoir
This double bill by one of cinema’s true masters, Jean Renoir, co-stars the French countryside. “The Rules of the Game,” is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners. Widely…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Diane Carson, professor emeritus of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic at KDHX.
Director: Philippe de Broca
Though best known for the 1970s rep-house fave “King of Hearts” (1966), director Philippe de Broca first established his reputation with this spectacularly entertaining spoof of the Bond-style adventure film….
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Renée Hirshfield, adjunct professor of film studies at Southwestern Illinois College.
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Although Jean-Pierre Melville occasionally contributed cameo performances in others’ films, “Two Men in Manhattan” features the only starring role for the director of such crime classics as “Bob le Flambeur.” When a…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, board member of the French-preservation nonprofit Les Amis, and former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog.
Director: Patrice Chéreau
Marguerite of Valois — known as Margot (Isabelle Adjani) — is sister to King Charles IX. In a political move to reconcile France, a country ripped apart by the Wars of Religion, the Catholic Margot is forced to…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Cate Marquis, film critic for the St. Louis Jewish Light and co-founder of the St. Louis Film Critics professional association.
Director: Leos Carax
In this debut feature by Leos Carax (“Holy Motors,” “Pola X”), Alex (Denis Lavant) has just been dumped by his girlfriend in favor of his best friend. Fascinated by first times — first break-up, first attempted…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Lionel Cuillé, the Jane and Bruce Robert professor of French and Francophone studies at Webster University.
Director: Jacques Tati
Slapstick prevails again when Jacques Tati’s eccentric, old-fashioned hero, Monsieur Hulot, is set loose in Villa Arpel, the geometric, oppressively ultramodern home of his brother-in-law, and in the antiseptic…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Jean-Louis Pautrot, professor of French and international studies at St. Louis University.
Director: Eric Rohmer
Eric Rohmer was unsurpassed at creating intelligent romantic comedies and intelligent female characters. “A Tale of Winter,” one of his most genial and audacious films, is a superb example of both. With Rohmer’s…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Hunt, former film critic for the Riverfront Times and former adjunct professor of film studies at Webster University.
Director: Robert Bresson
With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in “A Man Escaped.” Based on the account of an imprisoned French Resistance leader…
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pier Marton, video artist and self-designated Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media.