Emory Cinematheque begins the weekly 35mm film series French Global Cinema on Wednesday, January 22, with Jean Renoir’s World War I classic Grand Illusion. It’s the first of 11 screenings through April. Though it’s tied to a class of the same name in Emory University’s department of French and Italian, the series screenings are all free and open to the public.
While the programming includes the Renoir and other no-brainer classics such as Marcel Carné’s Les enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise), the lineup doesn’t tread overly familiar film thoroughfares.
“There is the New Wave, obviously,” says Charlie Michael, assistant professor in the French and Italian department who curated the series, referring to the midcentury explosion of talent that made stars of directors Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and the like. “I have a lot of love for the New Wave, one of the most important movements in the history of world cinema. But the New Wave has a tendency to take over film classes.”
Some personal favorites he’s looking forward to seeing onscreen? “I’m particularly excited to see Les enfants du paradis,” he says. “It’s a restored version, one of the great masterpieces. I’m very excited to see that on a big screen.”
Moving several decades forward, he’s also anticipating the 1980s movie Mauvais sang (or Bad Blood, also known as The Night Is Young), made by unpredictable auteur Leos Carax (Holy Motors).
“It’s one of the most important films of the 1980s,” he says. “You get to see a young Juliette Binoche, and it’s a very important film stylistically for the period.” Though not made by the same director, Michael says it shares a sort of DNA with the art-hit Diva. “It’s from that same era and movement of postmodern French film that started in the ’80s.”
He also recommends the March screening of The Secret of the Grain from director Abdellatif Kechiche, who’s received a lot of recent attention for his Oscar-nominated and Cannes Film Festival winner Blue Is the Warmest Color. And fans of Oscar winner Jean Dujardin and The Artist should check out his earlier role as a bumbling Gallic spy in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, a delirious period spoof from Artist director Michel Hazanavicius.
For such a small nation, France continues to have a big impact on film worldwide. “It’s a country the size of Texas, but it makes 200 feature films a year,” Michael says. “And we have access to only about 30 of them a year. There are so many great films that never make it over here.”
Screenings take place at 7:30 p.m. on Emory’s campus in White Hall.
January 22: La grande illusion / Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
January 29: Les enfants du paradis / Children of Paradise (Marcel Carné, 1945)
February. 5: Pierrot le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
February 12: La noire de . . . / Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene, 1966)
February 19: La nuit américaine / Day for Night (François Truffaut, 1973)
February 26: Mauvais sang / Bad Blood (Leos Carax, 1986)
March 19: Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996)
March 26: La graine et le mulet / The Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2007)
April 9: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse / The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2001)
April 16: Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2010)
April 23: OSS 117: Le Caire nid d’espions / OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (Michel Hazanavicius, 2006)