FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 20, 2000

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS

THE FIRST US RETROSPECTIVE OF THE WORKS OF

FRENCH FILMMAKER ALAIN RESNAIS IN OVER A DECADE

 

Featuring the classics HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR and LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, plus the U.S. premiere of Resnais' first short documentaries, the Los Angeles premiere of SMOKING/ NO SMOKING, and brand-new 35 mm prints of JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME and MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE

 

Presented in association with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

and the French Film & TV Office in Los Angeles

 

May 6 - 24, 2000

 

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque presents A STORY OF TIME: THE FILMS OF ALAIN RESNAIS (May 6 - 24, 2000), a retrospective of 14 feature films and 13 shorts from arguably the greatest French director alive today. The series is highlighted by the classics, HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959) and LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (1961), two unusual love stories, plus the U.S. Premiere of Resnais’s first short documentaries, the Los Angeles Premiere of SMOKING/NO SMOKING (1992) (a film that is really two films in one, hinging on whether or not the character Celia decides to smoke a cigarette – or not) and brand new 35mm prints of JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME (a 1968 sci-fi comic book film loop that travels to 13 time zones) and the comedy MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE (1980) starring Gerard Depardieu. This series is the first major U.S. retrospective of Resnais' films organized in over a decade, and includes all of his feature films (except for the currently unavailable LA GUERRE EST FINIE). Following its screenings in Los Angeles, the Resnais retrospective will tour to five other venues across North America. All prints are in French with English subtitles except as indicated.

All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

Resnais’ films flow on toward a distant destination, a place both beginning and end, like the haunted gardens in LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD or the thirteen parallel time zones in JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME. It's no wonder that Resnais counts both Feuillade and Fred Astaire as influences, for his films which are both fantastical and elegant, purely poetic and highly formal. Born in Brittany in 1922, Resnais grew up surrounded by comic books, shooting home movies with an 8 mm. camera given to him at age 13.

Working first as an editor (he cut films by close friends Agnes Varda and Chris Marker), Resnais began directing his own shorts in the late 1940’s, intensely poetic sketches on the lives of artists that began stretching and bending the concept of film time, climaxing in the brilliant industrial film "Le Chant du Styréne" and the devastating Holocaust memory-piece "Night and Fog." With his first two features, HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR and LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, Resnais almost single-handedly revolutionized film narrative, replacing linear story-telling with a world of seemingly-infinite layers of memory and emotion. Resnais has said, "The most profound influences are the perhaps the ones that have left no visible trace."

 

Saturday, May 6, 2000

The Saturday, May 6th program begins at 5:30 PM with a screening of LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (L'ANNEE DERNIERE A MARIENBAD), 1961, Canal +, 94 min., which traces the elliptical affair between a husband, a wife, and her lover. They wander through a baroque castle and futurist garden where there is no clear distinction between reality and phantasm, past and present. Delphine Seyrig moves like a silent diva through this haunted world of silhouettes, shadows, and murmurs. Prior to the feature is: the short "Night and Fog" (Nuit et Bruillard), 1955, 31 min., Resnais' poetic, unforgettable documentary on the concentration camps and the souls lost to the Holocaust.

Following at 8:30 PM is a double feature. First is HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, 1959, New Yorker Films, 91 min. A one-night stand between a young French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) brings back the memory of Riva's first impossible love in wartime France and the intense pain she endured when she loss her German lover -- and her punishment for sexual collaboration with the enemy. One of the most devastating love stories ever put on film, brilliantly written by Marguerite Duras.

Next on the same bill is a screening of a Brand-New 35 mm. Print of JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME, 1968, Cine Mag Bodard, 91 min. The most underrated and rarely-screened Resnais film, a sci-fi comic book film loop that travels through no less than 13 different time zones. After his unsuccessful suicide attempt, Ridder (Claude Rich) agrees to become the human guinea pig in a scientific experiment to travel in time, accompanied by a white laboratory mouse. Ridder relives fragmented moments of his life and his love affair with Catrine (Olga Georges-Picot), but the time machine goes wrong, creating a "chilling, trapped sense of limbo." (John Kreidl, Alain Resnais). [Repeats Sat. 5/13 on a double-bill with MURIEL.]

 

Sunday, May 7, 2000

The Sunday, May 7th program begins at 5:00 PM with the U.S. Premiere of early Resnais shorts. At 25 years old, Resnais began directing his first short documentaries. His fascination with painters led him to make a series of visits to contemporary abstract and surrealist painters: " I thought, why don't I talk painting with painters? I would learn things about painting, at least it would be a nice conversation…!" - Resnais. These are Resnais' very first sketches - not fully completed films in his opinion - some silent, some with music: "Visite á Lucien Coutaud", 1947, 10 min. "Visite á Felix Labisse", 1947, 15 min. "Visite á Hans Hartung", 1947, 15 min. "Visite á Cesar Domela", 1947, 15 min. "Portrait d’Henri Goetz", 1947, 24 min. "Visite á Christine Boumeester", 1947, 10 min. [From the Collection Films sur L'art du Centre Georges Pompidou.]

 

Following at 7:30 PM is MURIEL (MURIEL OU LE TEMPS D’UN RETOUR), (1963, Gemaci, 116 min). Arguably his greatest masterpiece (and one of the most unjustly neglected films of the past 40 years), Resnais’ third feature could be described as an expressionist cityscape of Boulogne in 1962, within the context of the Algerian war. It's also the story of Hélène (Delphine Seyrig) attempting to seduce her old lover Alphonse, while her stepson is driven to murder in memory of "Muriel" whom we never see. For his first color film, "Resnais uses a color scheme reminiscent of Flash Gordon, with lush greens and reds thoughout." (John Kreidl, Alain Resnais). [Repeats Sat. 5/13 on a double-bill with JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME.]

Tuesday, May 9, 2000

The Tuesday, May 9th program begins at 8:00 PM with STAVISKY, (1974, Interama, 117 min). After an absence of 8 years, Resnais returned with this gorgeous, intoxicating bio of con-man Stavisky (Jean Paul Belmondo), who through fraud and scandal caused the French government to collapse in the 1930’s. Death haunts the film, from Stavisky's wife Arlette’s (Annie Duperey) recurrent dreams to composer Stephen Sondheim's majestic Death Waltz. Stunningly photographed by MARIENBAD d.p. Sacha Vierney, featuring great performances by the aging Charles Boyer and the young Gerard Depardieu. " "Resnais tried to make it look as if it had been made in the 1930's. He refused to use zooms or any camera movement that was not practiced in the French films of that period." -- Richard Roud. Plus, the short "Les Statues Meurent Aussi" (Statues Also Die), 1953, Édition Présence Africaine, 30 min. Co-directed with Chris Marker, STATUES casts an ultra-critical eye on European culture's misuse of African sacred art; it also serves as a stunning testament to the art itself.

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

The Wednesday, May 10th program begins at 8:00 PM with PROVIDENCE, 1977, Jupiter Communication, 110 min. Resnais’ first English language picture (scripted by British playwright David Mercer) recaptured the genius of his earlier films. John Gielgud stars as a brilliant, Machiavellian writer who hallucinates his last novel using his family members – Dirk Bogarde, Ellen Burstyn and David Warner – as characters. A fascinating visual tour de force exploring the creative process, offset by references to the nightmarish political crackdown in Chile in the late 1970’s. "While the surface structure is like MARIENBAD, the deeper structure is like MURIEL" -- John Kreidl. Plus, the short "Toute La Memoire Du Monde" (All The Memory of the World), 1956, 22 min. This short documentary on the National Library in Paris captures the essence of Resnais’ themes, exploring with long fluid tracking shots the "concentration camp of memory."

Friday, May 12 2000

The Friday, May 12th program begins at 7:00 PM with the Los Angeles Premiere of SMOKING, 1992, USA Films, 135 min. One of the most highly-anticipated film events of the past decade, unseen in Los Angeles until now, the two-part SMOKING/NO SMOKING is Resnais’ most ambitious and kaleidoscopic experiment in film narrative. Based on a 1982 play cycle by English writer Alan Ayckbourn, SMOKING/NO SMOKING looks at the radically-different life-paths pursued by Celia Teasdale (Sabine Azema) and her husband Toby (Pierre Arditi) – all based on whether Celia decides to smoke a cigarette or not! "SMOKING / NO SMOKING begins with the choice of alternative actions, then forks out into a series of possibilities…it's like an illustration of chaos theory enacted with a flip of a coin. " -- Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound. "I wanted people to get lost in a sort of labyrinth, and enjoy it" -- Alain Resnais.

Following (separate admission from the 7:00 PM program) at 9:45 PM is NO SMOKING, 1993, USA Films, 142 min. [See Friday, May 12 at 7:00 PM for description.]

Saturday, May 13, 2000

The Saturday, May 13th program begins at 5:30 PM with a brand new 35 mm print of MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE, 1980, New Yorker Films, 125 min. One of Resnais’ biggest critical and commercial successes, MON ONCLE illustrates the radical theories of human behavioral scientist Henri Laborit by comically studying the interwoven stories of a factory manager (Gerard Depardieu), an aspiring actress (Nicole Garcia), and a politician (Roger-Pierre). The thoughts and emotions of the fictional characters are magically "mirrored" by clips of three of France’s most famous movie stars – Jean Gabin, Jean Marais and Danielle Darrieux. Wonderfully written by Jean Gruault. Plus, the short "Van Gogh", 1948, 20 min., Resnais’ first international success and an Oscar-winner for Best Short Subject. "‘Van Gogh’ was not simply a movement of the camera, but an exploration of the secret of this movement" – Jean-Luc Godard.

Following at 8:30 PM is an encore double-feature of JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME [This program is a repeat. See May 6th for description.] and MURIEL (MURIEL OU LE TEMPS D’UN RETOUR) - [See May 7th for description.] Plus, Resnais’ astonishing industrial short on the virtues of polystyrène (!!), "Le Chant du Styrène", 1958, 19 min. "Mass in Cinemascope and color … a single Jupiterian tracking shot whose wonderful phrasing is not without its echoes of the great cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach" -- Jean-Luc Godard.

Sunday, May 14, 2000

The Sunday, May 14th program begins at 5:00 PM with LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES (LA VIE EST UN ROMAN), (1983, New Yorker Films, 113 min). The secondpart of the trilogy that started with MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE, LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES focuses on the Search for Happiness, illustrated by three stories set in Count Michel Forbek’s (Rueggero Raimondi) utopian castle, "the Palace of Happiness." Years later, the Palace becomes a progressive school, and the children transform the castle into a fantasy world. "A legend imagined by children and played by adults. Three stories, or rather one story with three themes" -- Resnais. Plus, the short "Guernica", 1950, 12 min. An evocation of the Spanish village bombed in 1937, seen through Picasso's famous painting and a wonderful text by French poet Paul Eluard.

The program continues at 7:30 PM with LOVE UNTO DEATH (L'AMOUR A MORT), MK2, 1984, 93 min. The last part of the trilogy composed of MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE and LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES. Here, Resnais and screenwriter Jean Gruault offer a dazzling meditation on Resurrection and the power of Love. Simon (Pierre Arditi) returns from the dead to re-experience life and love with his devoted wife Elisabeth (Sabine Azema). Described by the modern French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as "one of the most ambitious films in cinema history." Co-starring André Dussolier and Fanny Ardent. Plus, "Gauguin", 1950, 11 min., Resnais’ early portrait of the painter Paul Gauguin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2000

The Tuesday, May 16th program begins at 8:00 PM with I WANT TO GO HOME (JE VEUX RENTRER A LA MAISON), 1989, MK2, 110 min. Based on a script by satirical cartoonist Jules Feiffer, I WANT TO GO HOME explores Resnais’ life-long love for the art of comic books. An American cartoonist (played by legendary SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN composer Adolph Green - !) travels to Paris for an exhibition of his work – and a reunion with his estranged daughter Lena (Linda Lavin). Gerard Depardieu (in his first English-speaking part) co-stars as Lavin’s professor at the Sorbonne. [In English and French, with subtitles.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

The Wednesday, May 24th program is a double feature which begins at 7:00 PM with MELO, 1986, MK2, 110 min. Resnais’ biggest box-office success since MON ONCLE D’AMERIQUE traces the murderous love triangle between two close friends, classical musicians Pierre Arditi and André Dussollier, and the wife -- Louise Brooks lookalike Sabine Azema -- who betrays one for the other, with tragic results.

Next on the same bill is THE SAME OLD SONG (ON CONNAIT LA CHANSON), 1997, New Yorker Films, 120 min. Inspired by the work of the late, great Dennis Potter (THE SINGING DETECTIVE), Resnais’ most recent feature follows the tangled love lives of five modern Parisians -- Sabine Azema, Pierre Arditi, André Dussolier, Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri – who burst into song to express their emotions. Featuring a wonderful soundtrack of classic French chansons by Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Gilbert Bécaud and Josephine Baker, THE SAME OLD SONG is Resnais at his most colorful and inspired. Based on a script by co-stars Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri.

 

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

BLACK & WHITE & COLOR PHOTOS & SLIDES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS ON TAPE.

 

REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS MUST BE IN WRITING. FAX TO 323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW TIME. FRIDAY AT NOON IS THE ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY SCREENINGS. JOURNALISTS WISHING TO AUDIO OR VIDEOTAPE DISCUSSIONS MUST ALSO SEND A WRITTEN REQUEST.

THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS MAY BE SET UP FOR SOME TITLES. PLEASE CALL FOR DATES AND TIMES. WE WILL SET UP SCREENINGS AAVAILABLE TAPES: ALL ARE SUBTITLED Unless indicated otherwise: Availability is indicated below.

HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (Jerry’s Video)

JE T'AIME JE T'AIME (print available by April 20)

LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (L'ANNEE DERNIERE A MARIENBAD) (Jerry’s Video)

LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES (LA VIE EST UN ROMAN)*

LOVE UNTO DEATH (l'AMOUR A MORT)*

MURIEL (MURIEL OU LE TEMPS D'UN RETOUR) (Print arriving by April 28)

MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE (Jerry’s Video)

PROVIDENCE (Jerry’s Video)

SMOKING/ NO SMOKING

STAVISKY (Jerry’s Video)

All the Memory of the World (Toute La Memoire Du Monde) (We have a PAL video tape)

Gauguin (We have a PAL tape. No subtitles)

Guernica (We have an NTSC Video. No Subtitles)

Le Chant Du Styréne (We have a PAL tape. No subtitles)

Portrait d'Henri Goetz*

Statues Also Die (Les Statues Meurent Aussi) (print available April by 20)

Night and Fog (Huit et Bruillard)*

Van Gogh (NTSC video not subtitled)

Visite a Cesar Domela (Screening copies available on April 28.)

Visite a Christine Boumeester (Screening copies available on April 28.)

Visite a Felix Labisse (Screening copies available on April 28.)

Visite a Hans Hartung (Screening copies available on April 28.)

Visite a Lucien Coutaud (Screening copies available on April 28.)

* We do not have a print arrival date or a video.

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

# # #

 

Upcoming at the American Cinematheque:

New Hollywood of the 1960's and 1970's (May)

Universal Studios' Hitchcock International Directors Series (June)

Down Under Wonders: Short Films From Australia & New Zealand (June)

Mods and Rockers (June)

"BURNING MAN: THAT BURNING SENSATION" New Documentary! (June 29)

Japanese Sci/Fi (July)

Political Film Series sponsored by the LA Weekly (August)

 

Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD is now open. For press passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.

 

American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 323.466-FILM u (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web: http://www.egyptiantheatre.com

Egyptian Theatre

Screening Schedule

Home

Membership       

Moving Picture Ball

Tickets