FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Margot Gerber

Tel.: 213/466-FILM ext. 115

May 15, 1997

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS THE FIRST MAJOR IN-PERSON

LOS ANGELES TRIBUTE TO "MOTHER OF THE FRENCH NEW WAVE" –

DIRECTOR AGNÈS VARDA

 

FEATURING THE LA PREMIERE OF VARDA’S LATEST FILM ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS WITH CATHERINE DENEUVE, ROBERT DENIRO AND MARCELLO MASTRIONNI

 

Presented in Association With the French Ministry Of Foreign Affairs &

French Cultural Services – Los Angeles

 

Weekends June 5 - 20, 1997

 

HOLLYWOOD –The American Cinematheque presents THE LIGHT IN HER EYES: A TRIBUTE TO AGNÈS VARDA IN-PERSON, the first major in-person Los Angeles retrospective of the work of the director known as "the Mother of the French New Wave." The series, which runs weekends, June 5th through 20th, features the LA Premiere of Varda’s latest film, ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS, the director’s own celebration of the 100th anniversary of cinema. NIGHTS features a parade of cinema’s finest actors including Catherine Deneuve, Harrison Ford, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean Moreau, Rober DeNiro and others. Additional highlights of the series include screenings of the director’s first film LA POINTE COURTE (1954), about a young couple trying to save their marriage; her breakthrough film CLEO FROM 5 to 7 (1961) the story of a Parisian pop singer; and her 1985 masterpiece VAGABOND, the film that vaulted 18-year old actress Sandrine Bonnaire to stardom. The Cinematheque continues its unique version of dinner theater with a Saturday, June, 7th Agnès Varda inspired "French Country Picnic," in connection with that night’s screenings. About her filmmaking Varda has said, "I want to illuminate women’s lives – not only their hardships, although they’re important, but also the light, the transparence, the pleasure of being a woman." All screenings are at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater (5300 Melrose Avenue between Bronson & Van Ness) in Hollywood. All films directed by Agnès Varda.

American Cinematheque

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard., 3rd Floor, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 213.461.9737 u (fax) 213.461.9737

Now on the web!!! http://www.americancinematheque.com

 

 

 

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A gifted and outspoken feminist and one of the most acclaimed female directors anywhere in the world Agnès Varda, could be considered the prototype of today’s independent filmmaker. Varda, the filmmaker, at heart, is a survivor, a stubborn and patient observer of her time and her people, like the pop singer in CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, the lovers in LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS), or the drifter in VAGABOUND. "I have fought so much since I started … for something that comes from emotion, from visual emotion, sound emotion, feeling, and finding a shape for that," Varda has said.

Varda directed her first feature, LA POINTE COURTE in 1954, with no formal training in film making. The movie has often been identified as the film that started French New Wave ("and a famous flop," as Varda has wryly noted). Along with Alain Resnais and Chris Marker, she made up the so-called "Left Bank Group" of the early 1960’s, distinct from other New Wave directors for their interest in both documentary and fiction and their passion for both political and social filmmaking. Her marriage to the late Jacques Demy (1931-1990) made her one-half of the most beloved filmmaking couple of their day. (The American Cinematheque plans to do a Jacques Demy Tribute in the near future.) In addition to her film work, Varda recently published a highly-acclaimed autobiography of her career, Varda Par Agnès. Limited copies will be on sale at our box office. The book is in French and an English translation is not currently available. All films in the series are directed by Agnès Varda. Ms. Varda is available for interview while she is in Los Angeles, or in advance by telephone.

 

WEEKEND 1: June 5th, 6th & 7th

The series kicks off on Thursday, June 5th at 7:15 PM with the LA Premiere of Varda’s latest feature ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS (LES CENT ET UNE NUITS, 1995, 125 min.). Varda returns with this poetic fantasy of 100-year old Monsieur Cinema (Michel Piccoli) who is holed up in his chateau with his movie memories and a charming young film student (Julie Gayet) who has eyes for his vast fortune. The Old Man Of Cinema is starting to have problems remembering, so to brighten his days (and memory), a non-stop parade of friends drop by to chat with him, including: Catherine Deneuve, Harrison Ford, Marcello Mastroianni, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robert De Niro and Jeanne Moreau. Discussion following with Agnès Varda. Following at 9:45 PM is a repeat screening of ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS (LES CENT ET UNE NUITS).

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The Friday, June 6th program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of VAGABOND (SANS TOIT NI LOI, 1985, 107 min.) Varda’s most acclaimed work and arguably the greatest French film of the 1980’s, VAGABOND tells the brutal, simple, yet unrelenting story of the last months in the life of a young female drifter. Sandrine Bonnaire’s harrowing performance in the lead role made her an overnight international star at the age of 18. (The French title of the film literally translates as "without roof or law.") Plus, L’OPERA-MOUFFE (1958, 17 min.) in which the joys and anxieties of a pregnant woman are visualized in a stunning succession of black-and-white images. Discussion following with Agnès Varda. Following at 9:45 PM is Varda’s first feature film LA POINTE COURTE (1954, 89 min.), a breathtakingly ambitious story about a young couple trying to save their marriage, intercut with a second narrative about the economic woes of a group of fishermen – the two stories exist side-by-side, but never meet. Alain Resnais, who worked as the film’s editor, later confessed that LA POINTE COURTE’s parallel structure was a major influence on his film HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR. Plus, DU CÔTÉ DE LA CÔTE (1958, 24 min.), Varda’s sly, sparkling tribute to the French Riviera, sponsored by the Office of Tourism (although they typically cut out her suggestion that the land should be open to the general public-!).

The Saturday, June 7th program begins at 7:15 PM with Varda’s breakthrough film CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (CLEO DE 5 A 7, 1961, 90 min.), two hours in the life of a hopelessly pretty pop singer (Corrine Marchand), who may or may not be dying of cancer. CLEO ranks with BREATHLESS and THE 400 BLOWS as one of the seminal works of the French New Wave. "The streets of Paris are filmed like they have never again been filmed" – Telerama. Plus, on the same bill, LES DITES CARIATIDES (1984, 13 min.), Varda’s Baudelaire-inspired portrait of the female statues in Paris. Discussion following with Agnès Varda. Beginning at 8:30 PM the Cinematheque presents its version of dinner theater with an Agnès Varda inspired FRENCH COUNTRY PICNIC catered by Classic Cuisine. Dinner is $7.50 and can be purchased in addition to the price of admission to either the 7:15 pm or the 9:45 pm screenings. Following at 9:45 PM is LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS, 1964, 82 min.), with Claire Druout and Marie France Boyer. Mozart, a few impossibly French and carefree lovers, fields of flowers – LE BONHEUR is, in Varda’s words, "like a beautiful fruit which tastes of cruelty." Jean-Claude Drouot stars as François, a blissfully married carpenter who takes a mistress so he can be even happier! A huge arthouse hit on its initial release, the film has practically disappeared from screens in the past decade. Plus, on the same bill ULYSSE (1982, 22 min.), a lyrical detective story in which the

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filmmaker tries to recapture the exact time and place of a photo she took in 1954. Discussion following with Agnès Varda.

 

WEEKEND 2: June 13th & 14th

The Friday, June 13th program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T (L’UNE CHANTE L’AUTRE PAS, 1976, 120 min.), a poignant drama and box-office success about two women (Valerie Mairesse and Therese Liotard) and their continued friendship over 15 years of social, political, and sexual upheaval in France. "I fought because I wanted thousands of people to be able, for once, to see a film about the world of women" – Varda. Plus, on the same bill, PLAISIR D’AMOUR EN IRAN (1976, 6 min.), a vibrant short film featuring the characters of Pomme and Darius from ONE SINGS. Shot by Varda in Iran during production of the feature. Following at 9:45 PM is a screening of THE "YOUNG GIRLS" TURN 25 (LES DEMOISELLES ONT EU 25 ANS, 1992, 63 min.), a nostalgic, tender and upbeat, documentary tribute to Jacques Demy’s beloved musical THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT. "Delightful… an amusing and bouyant mix of "then" and "now" footage" (Variety). Varda pieces together "home movies" from 1966 of the cast and crew on the set, (including interviews with Catherine Deneuve and Michel Legrand and rare footage of Deneuve’s older sister and co-star Francoise Dorleac who died tragically in 1967), with vintage "making of" footage; and documentation of the 1992 25th birthday party in the French seaside town of Rochefort where the film was made. Varda shot the star-studded side of the event and also, updates on townspeople who appeared in the original film as extras. Plus, on the same bill, ONCLE YANCO (1967, 22 min.). Invited to the San Francisco Film Festival, Varda took time to visit her Greek uncle Yanco – a free-spirited, 75-year old hippie living on a houseboat in Sausalito. Discussion following with Agnès Varda.

The Saturday, June 14th program begins at 7:15 PM with LIONS LOVE (AND LIES) (1969, 110 MIN.), a blissed-out experiment in anarchy and illusion, featuring Warhol superstar Viva (from LONESOME COWBOYS) and HAIR authors James Rado and Jerome Ragni playing "themselves" -- three innocents adrift in Hollywood. Freely mixing improvisation with scripted dialogue, and occasional news reports on the shootings of Robert Kennedy and Warhol, which interrupt the film, LIONS LOVE is a gloriously screwy time capsule of L.A. in its free-love acid-tripping let-it-all-hang-out heyday. In English. Discussion following with Agnès Varda. Following at 9:45 PM is a screening of MUR MURS (1980, 81 min.), essential viewing for all Angelenos. MUR MURS is Varda’s lively tribute to this city’s outdoor murals, from the riotous Pig Paradise in Vernon to The Fall of Icarus in Venice. Along the way, she captures priceless interviews with the muralists themselves, including 23-year old Judy Baca, who observes, "I started painting because I realized… that I had never seen a Chicana in a museum." In English. Plus, on the same bill, DOCUMENTEUR (1980/81, 63 min.) which was shot as a companion piece to MUR MURS (and meant to be screened one after the other). DOCUMENTEUR is a bleak, introspective portrait of a divorced mother (Sabine Mamou) living at the Venice beach with her young son (played by Varda’s son Mathieu). Discussion between films with Agnès Varda.

 

Weekend 3: June 20th

The Friday, June 20th program begins at 7:15 PM with THE CREATURES (LES CREATURES, 1965, 105 min.), Varda’s most original (and misunderstood) film. THE CREATURES takes place on a sun-drenched Breton island where a science fiction writer (Michel Piccoli) and his mute wife (Catherine Deneuve) find themselves slipping back and forth between fantasy and reality. Critic Michael Ross called it "an elaborate jigsaw puzzle finished except for the last piece, which lurks behind a door guarded by tigers." Following at 9:30 PM is a screening of JACQUOT DE NANTES (1990, 118 min.), Varda’s tender farewell to her late husband, director Jacques Demy. The film recreates the early years of Demy’s life in the French port city of Nantes, interwoven with clips from Demy’s films LOLA, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG and others. With Phillipe Maron, Edouard Joubeaud, Anouk Amiee and Laurent Monnier. "Has there been anything quite like JACQUOT DE NANTES in cinema? …it deserves to be called a CINEMA PARADISO without self-indulgence, or a 400 BLOWS without self-pity" — Film Comment

 

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

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS

AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

Admission for the general public is $7 and $4 for American Cinematheque Members. The Saturday, June 7th French Country Picnic is $7.50 in addition to the admission price for the screening. Separate admission for each screening. All films are in French with English subtitles except where noted.

 

 

PRESS SCREENINGS

DATES FOR ADVANCE THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS ARE NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. PLEASE CALL IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE NOTIFIED OF DATES & TIMES.

 

PRESS PASSES ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL AS MOST SCREENINGS WILL BE SOLD OUT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

 

 

ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON VIDEO TAPE AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE. CALL 213.466.3456 ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SCREENINGS. ATTACHED IS A LIST OF FILMS AVAILABLE:

 

ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS (PAL)

LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS) (PAL)

THE "YOUNG GIRLS" TURN 25 (PAL)

VAGABOND (NTSC)

CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (NTSC)

JACQUOT DE NANTES (NTSC)

Please note that tickets to our programs can be purchased through THEATIX (213) 466-1767. Our number (213) 466-FILM should be listed for further information only!

 

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater and other Los Angeles venues. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our

series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences.

The American Cinematheque is currently renovating the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which, when open in 1998, will become the American Cinematheque's permanent home and offer daily, year-round programming.

For information about this film program call 213/466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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