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City Cinematheque presents

"Classics of French Film" from June 6 to July 10

CUNY TV’s global film series CITY CINEMATHEQUE will present Classics of French Film, premiering Saturday & Sunday, June 6 & 7 (2015) at 9 PM. After each of the films – shown in the original French language with English subtitles – series host Jerry W. Carlson, Professor of Cinema Studies at The City College/CUNY, meets with film scholars to discuss the impact and influence of the week’s offering.

CITY CINEMATHEQUE is presented every weekend, with the same film on Saturday and Sunday nights at 9 PM, and repeated the following Friday night – early Saturday morning - at midnight.*

Complete information about the five Classics of French Film, ranging from 1946 to 1959, follows:




Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Saturday 6/6 & Sunday 6/7 at 9pm; Friday 6/12 at midnight
Director: Jean Cocteau. Cast: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Michel Auclair.
Discussion guest: Mary Ann Caws, CUNY Graduate Center.

Jean Cocteau's romantic fantasy is an adaptation of the traditional fairy tale.  The plot revolves around Belle's father, sentenced to death for picking a rose from the Beast's garden. Belle offers to go back to the Beast in her father's place; the Beast falls in love with her and proposes marriage on a nightly basis - which she refuses. Belle eventually becomes more drawn to the Beast, who tests her by letting her return home to her family and telling her that if she doesn't return to him within a week, he will die of grief.




Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)
Saturday 6/13 & Sunday 6/14 at 9pm; Friday 6/19 at midnight
Director: Jacques Tati. Cast: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla.
Discussion guest: David Bellos, Princeton University.

The film follows the misadventures of a lovable, gauche Frenchman, Monsieur Hulot (played by Tati himself), as he joins the "newly emerging holiday-taking classes" for an August vacation at a modest seaside resort.




The Wages of Fear (1953)
Saturday 6/20 & Sunday 6/21 at 9pm; Friday 6/26 at midnight
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot. Cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli.
Discussion guest: William Luhr, St. Peter’s University.

When a South American oil well owned by an American company catches fire, the company hires four European men, down on their luck, to drive two trucks over mountain dirt roads, loaded with nitroglycerine needed to extinguish the flames. Based on a 1950 novel by Georges Arnaud.




Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
Saturday 6/27 & Sunday 6/28; Friday 7/3 at midnight
Director: Louis Malle. Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin.
Discussion guest: Krin Gabbard, Columbia University.

Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet star as criminal lovers whose perfect crime, the faking of Moreau’s husband’s murder as suicide, begins to unravel when Ronet is trapped in an elevator. The film is often associated by critics with the film noir style, but also devised narrative and editing techniques that would influence the French New Wave. It also boasts a groundbreaking score by Miles Davis.




The 400 Blows (1959)
Saturday 7/4 & Sunday 7/5 at 9pm; Friday 7/10 at midnight
Director: Francois Truffaut. Cast: Jean Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier.
Discussion guest: Audrey Evrard, Fordham University.

One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The film is about Antoine Doinel, a misunderstood adolescent in Paris who is thought by his parents and teachers to be a troublemaker. Filmed on location in Paris and Honfleur, it is the first in a series of five films in which Léaud plays Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical character.


Distributor of the Classics of French Film series is Janus Films.

*CUNY TV is broadcast over-the-air in the New York metropolitan area (including areas of Long Island, Westchester, NJ, and CT within 35 miles of Times Square) on digital Ch. 25.3, and cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision/Optimum Brooklyn), Ch. 77 (RCN Cable) and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS). For more information, go to www.cuny.tv.