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American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents...
Movies on the Big Screen Since 1940!
1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica

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Series Compiled by: Jean-Michel Frodon/ Cahiers du Cinéma, Richard Peña/Film Society of Lincoln Center; With the support of French Cultural Services. Program notes: Richard Peña.

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Special Thanks to: Sara Bensman, Marie Bonnel, Catherine Roux, Wendy Lidell, Anne-Catherine Louvet.

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SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

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Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the newly re-opened and renovated Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Barry Gerber. Aero Theatre (c) 2004.

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<<< 2006 >>>

To Reality and Back: Classic and Contemporary French Documentaries - Part I


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This Series is Exclusive to the Aero Theatre and will continue through the end of the year!

 

A series from the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Cahier du Cinema.

Presented in Association with the Los Angeles Film and Television Office - French Embassy and the French Cultural Services in New York.

Ever since the Lumière Brothers decided to call their 50-second strips of moving images, "actualities," filmmakers in France have been at the forefront in the exploration of the complex interplay between the art of film and the world surrounding us. In what seems to be a worldwide explosion of interest in the various forms of non-fiction filmmaking, France has witnessed an increasing presence of both domestic and foreign documentaries in film theaters, often enjoying considerable success. French television, both public and private, has also been very supportive of documentary film.

The series offers a brief survey of some of the finest and most adventurous recent French documentaries, along with three programs of beloved and highly influential classic documentaries. Works by internationally celebrated filmmakers such as Jean Vigo, Alain Resnais, Claude Lanzmann, Raymond Depardon, Agnès Varda and Nicolas Philbert are included alongside films by artists rarely seen in America such as Claire Simon.


 

Friday, May 12 - 7:30 PM

"À Propos De Nice," 1930, 25 min. Dir. Jean Vigo and his cameraman Boris Kaufman went down to the capital of the French Riviera and shot many hours, sometimes clandestinely, around the city and of its inhabitants; the result was this stirring, provocative portrait of Nice that stands among the best of the era’s "city symphonies."

"Those Of Our Land" (Ceux De Chez Nous),1914/1939, 45 min. Made by a very young Sacha Guitry (later one of France’s finest actor/directors) as a kind of counter-propaganda exercise against Germanic claims for the superiority of their "Kultur," Guitry introduces us to 12 French luminaries, including Sarah Bernhardt, Monet, Rodin, Degas, and August Renoir. Shot silent with an early amateur camera, this was "a celebration of French creative genius," according to its director, that showed these artists in the act of creating, or at least pretending to be creating. In 1939, Guitry added spoken commentary to the film, which is the version that will be screened.

 

 

Saturday, May 13 - 7:30 PM

THREE SHORT DOCUMENTARIES BY ALAIN RESNAIS
Before revolutionizing the feature film with works such as HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR and LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, Alain Resnais made a number of remarkable documentaries that often anticipate the stylistic explorations and themes found in his later work.
"Statues Also Die" (Les Statues Meurent Aussi), 1953, 30 min. Dirs. Alain Resnais and Chris Marker. Banned in France for 12 years, the film traces the devastating impact of French colonialism on African art. As Resnais’ co-director, Chris Marker, stated, "We want to see their suffering, serenity, humor, even though we don’t know anything about them." Their film shows what happens when art loses its connection to a culture.
"All The Memory Of The World" (Toute La Mémoire Du Monde), 1956, 21 min. Dir. Alain Resnais. A kind of Borgesian fantasy, this is a lyrical exploration of Paris’s Bibiothèque Nationale, the French National Library. As Resnais’ camera glides down a labyrinth of corridors past endless rows of books, one is struck, and put in awe, of the vastness of human experience, and moreover how little one can ever know of it.
"Night And Fog" (Nuit Et Brouillard), 1955, 32 min. Dir. Alain Resnais. Surely one of the most remarkable, and unforgettable, documentaries ever made, this burst upon a world that already trying to move away from the memory of the Holocaust. Juxtaposing period footage, contemporary images of the former camps and a haunting narration by writer Jean Cayrol, Resnais attempts to sketch the outline of events too real and yet still unimaginable.

 

 

Sunday, May 14 - 6:30 PM

A Masterpiece Not To Be Missed!

REPRISE, 1997, 195 min., Dir. Hervé Le Roux. One of the monuments of contemporary documentary cinema — and not only in France, REPRISE offers a provocative re-evaluation of the tumultuous and by now mythical events in May of 1968 and their aftermath. On June 10, 1968, students from the Parisian film school, IDHEC recorded the end of the strike at the Wonder Factory in Saint-Ouen. A young woman worker refused to go back to work. After director Hervé le Roux saw a photograph of her in Cahiers du Cinéma he began a long search for this "heroine," a search that charts the changes in French radical politics over the past 30 years. "When we set up contacts with everyone in summer 1995, explaining our intentions, most people including the unionists asked, ‘We would like to contribute but who would ever be interested in these old stories?’ I didn’t want to make an antiquated or a nostalgic film. 20-year-olds consider it a historical film. It describes a vanished world: large industrial companies in left-wing suburbs, a kind of company culture, a sense of belonging which has disappeared and been replaced with insecurity, the fear of the loss of jobs. And yet, despite predictions by officials about the workers’ situation, it remains basically unchanged, the way others predict the death of cinema." – Hervé Le Roux

 

 

 

Sunday, June 18 - 7:30 PM
FRENCH DOCUMENTARIES PART II
THE TENTH DISTRICT COURT: JUDICIAL HEARINGS (LA 10ME CHAMBRE, INSTANTS D’AUDIENCE), 2004, Lorber, 105 min. Veteran photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon's look at the inner workings of a Parisian courtroom is a fascinating study of clashing egos and dueling rhetorical styles. Within a deceptively simple framework, Depardon gives us an absorbing and entertaining sketch of contemporary French society, as a parade of African immigrants, pickpockets, threadbare artists, and self-righteous academics come face to face with the formidable judge Michèle Bernard-Requin. She's tough, more than a little bemused, and understandably tired of all the shenanigans she has to witness. Far more than a documentary on the frustrations of the legal system, The 10TH DISTRICT COURT is a film about the endless complexity of human behavior.