American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of April Schedule!
Series compiled by:  Gwen Deglise and Dennis Bartok with the special assistance of James Qunadt, Cinematheque Ontario. Program notes by Chris D. 

 

Special Thanks to: Martine Boutrolle/French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Grover Crisp/COLUMBIA PICTURES; Sarah Finklea/JANUS-CRITERION; Eric Di Bernardo/RIALTO PICTURES; Dennis Doros/MILESTONE FILMS; Serge Losique/MONTREAL FILM FESTIVAL; TELEDIS/GAUMONT; Josh Tager/IVY FILMS.

 

 

 

 

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.
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The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< April 30 - May 4, 2004 >>>

BLACK ON BLACK: THE DIABOLICAL CINEMA OF HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT

Presented in association with the French Film & TV Department – Consulate General of France

 

The great French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907-1977) began as a critic, took up screenwriting at the beginning of the 1930s, and often found himself toiling away on crime films. But through much of Clouzot’s directorial career, beginning in 1942 with the satirical whodunit THE MURDERER LIVES AT 21, he courted heated controversy and found himself constantly at odds with critics and politicians, as well as fellow filmmakers. No film did more to foment this aura of hostility than the noirish LE CORBEAU (1943), a scathing metaphor for the poisonously paranoid atmosphere in wartime France that was too much – not only for the then-current Vichy administration, but for the post-war liberation government as well. Clouzot was blacklisted from filmmaking for four years and the film itself was banned in France.

Upon his return, rather than retreat from his vitriolic sensibility, Clouzot made a full scale advance, creating stunning portraits of the hidden and unspoken in humanity etched in acid, from the astonishing policier QUAI DES ORFEVRES (1947) and the blistering MANON (1949), to later films like the superb, long unavailable LA VERITE (1960) starring Brigitte Bardot. Even his most successful, award-winning pictures, WAGES OF FEAR (1953) and DIABOLIQUE (1955), are thrillers intent on yanking back the covers to coolly and calmly examine what defines need, obsession, and desperation – indeed the limitless depths of the most base human nature. Clouzot stands as a courageously contrary voice in the wilderness, a consummate artist plagued with health problems in later life who plunged ahead relentlessly to the end to realize his vision. Often compared to such disparate film luminaries as Hitchcock and Fassbinder, Clouzot remains, in the words of the Cinematheque Ontario’s James Quandt, "one of the most important and controversial directors in the history of French cinema."

 

Friday, April 30 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

Brand New 35mm Print! THE TRUTH (LA VERITE), 1960, Columbia, 130 min. Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot. Brigitte Bardot gives arguably her greatest performance ever (despite her amazing work with Godard and Vadim) in this scorching portrait of amour fou. Bardot stars as Dominique, a hedonistic free-spirit on trial for the murder of her lover, musician Sami Frey. Once again Clouzot breaks ground in his fearless look at private insecurities, revealing what supposedly constitutes a ‘sordid’ lifestyle, and why it is so threatening to bourgeois society. Co-written by Clouzot and his wife Vera (star of DIABOLIQUE.) Winner of the 1961 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.

DIABOLIQUE, 1955, Janus/Criterion, 110 min. Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot. One of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made, DIABOLIQUE focuses on the browbeaten wife (Vera Clouzot) of a brutal schoolmaster and his tough-as-nails mistress (Simone Signoret), as they team up to murder their mutual tormentor. But that’s only the beginning of this edge-of-your-seat affair, a twisting, turning shocker that still holds up today as one of the all-time classics of suspense. Legend has it that Clouzot beat Hitchcock to the punch by only an hour in sewing up rights to the original novel by Pierre Boileau. With sardonic Charles Vanel as the poker-faced inspector.

 

Saturday, May 1 – 5:00 PM

WAGES OF FEAR (LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR), 1953, Janus/Criterion, 148 min. Four losers from different backgrounds (Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter Van Eyck, and Folco Lulli – all superb) volunteer to drive nitroglycerine-loaded trucks from a remote South American village to help put out a raging oil fire. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot navigates them on a nerve-jangling, teeth-gritting journey across a treacherous wilderness that conspires to block them from their goal every step of the way. Suspense films just don’t get any better than this, one of the best nail-biters ever made. Also starring Vera Clouzot as the saloon girl who is in love with Montand.

 

Saturday, May 1 – 8:15 PM

Double Feature:

QUAI DES ORFEVRES, 1947, Rialto Pictures, 102 min. Maurice (Bertrand Blier), the jealous husband of ambitious cabaret chanteuse Jenny (Suzy Delair), is blamed for murder when a lecherous movie producer turns up dead. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot spins a classic police procedural, following dauntless Inspector Antoine (famous French actor Louis Jouvet, in his greatest role) as he doggedly goes about untying the knots in this delightfully perplexing, character-driven mystery. "A classic of post-war French film noir…a detective thriller of unusual psychological intensity, as well as a brilliant portrait of late '40s Paris." – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

New 35mm Print! THE TRUTH (LA VERITE), 1960, Columbia, 130 min. Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot. [See 3/30 for description.]

 

Sunday, May 2 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature:

THE RAVEN (LE CORBEAU), 1943, Janus/Criterion, 93 min. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s caustic portrait of small town bourgeois hypocrisy sparked immediate controversy upon its release; it was despised by the collaborationist Vichy government and then later banned by the post-war liberation government! An anonymous writer of poison pen letters known as "Le Corbeau" (The Raven) sows chaos by revealing the dark secrets of a rural village’s inhabitants. Clouzot conjures an ever more claustrophobic atmosphere with every shot, a disturbing vision plumbing the depths of the human heart of darkness. With Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc. "A superb noir thriller." – Philip French, The Observer.

THE MURDERER LIVES AT 21 (L’ASSASSIN HABITE AU 21), 1942, Teledis, 84 min. Clouzot’s impossibly-rare debut is a gem of a police mystery that laid the groundwork for the dark splendor of his later films. Based on the novel by Stanislas-Andre Steeman, L’ASSASSIN stars Pierre Fresnay as a police inspector whose search for a notorious serial killer leads him to a boarding house. One of the boarders must be the killer, but who? Co-starring the delightful Suzy Delair as the desperate-for-publicity actress, Mila Malou.

 

Tuesday, May 4 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

THE MYSTERY OF PICASSO (LE MYSTERE PICASSO), 1956, Milestone, 75 min. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot deals with a different species of mystery – the mystery of creation – in this enchanting look into Picasso’s creative process, the camera mesmerized as Picasso virtually paints on the movie screen itself. Winner of the Jury Prize at The Cannes Film Festival. "This marvelous film…simply sits back in awe as the grand old man, shirtless and confident, does what he does best." – Desson Howe, Washington Post

MANON, 1949, Ivy Films, 96 min. One of Clouzot’s most neglected masterpieces and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1949, MANON was his blistering response to the hypocritical reaction in France to LE CORBEAU. Updating Abbe Prevost’s classic novel to post-war France, the film stars newcomer CÚcile Aubrey (sex-kitten precursor to Brigitte Bardot) as a prostitute who is condemned as a collaborationist for sleeping with Germans during the war. She’s rescued from the noose by a smitten resistance fighter (Michel Auclair) – but once the couple flees from Normandy, Manon’s desire for the good things in life leads her directly to Parisian black markets and brothels, a debauched course that can result only in self-destruction. With Serge Reggiani.