“Just A Beginning” follows a nursery school class for a period of two years. But this is a very unusual class as the children, aged three to five study… philosophy! Seated in a circle around a ritually lit candle, the children, in a fresh, funny and sometimes merciless manner, approach the universal subjects of love, power, difference, growing up, death etc. Little by little the philosophy workshop becomes a privileged moment where each child reflects on the words of the other, learns how to listen and to build a discourse. From now on they will be able to think for themselves! With their emotions, their unusual expressions and their contradictions, the children of this nursery school deliver a single testimony on an innovative experiment. “Just A Beginning” is the fabulous true story of a school with an eye on the future. Read More »
This Francois Truffaut thriller is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich), whose books had been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock on many previous occasions. Jeanne Moreau stars as a woman whose fiancé is nastily murdered by five men. Utilizing a series of disguises, the cool-customer Moreau tracks down all five culprits, sexually enslaves them, and then engineers their deaths. The ominous musical score was written by Bernard Herrmann, another frequent Hitchcock collaborator. The Bride Wore Black was initially released in France as La Mariee etait en Noir. — Hal Erickson Read More »
In this thriller, a UNESCO translator stumbles across a group which is hiding and supporting Nazis and facilitating their travel around the world. She had been given an assignment to study the work of a writer who recently had died, and the conspiracy is revealed in materials he left behind. She comes upon a young man who is going through the writer’s papers, and she immediately assumes he must be one of the conspirators. However, he soon convinces her of his innocence in that regard, and the two together begin a search for the ringleader. Read More »
The story centers on a young gigolo, Bertrand Valade who steals the manuscript of a dying client. After a year, becomes a playwright and is now living in a decked-out Parisian apartment. The only problem is that his producer, Regis Grant has been waiting impatiently for a new play which the imposter Bertrand is somehow supposed to write. When Bertrand shows up for a rehearsal of his hit play, which is now touring the provinces, he crosses paths with a high-class call girl, Eva who quickly becomes an obsession that will ruin his life. Read More »
1958. Rose is a terrible secretary but a demon typist. Her handsome boss resolves to turn her into the fastest girl in the world. Read More »
Considering that it was made during a bleak and distressing period for France, Le Ciel est à vous is an astonishingly uplifting film with a message of unfettered hope for the future. It is not difficult to read director Jean Grémillon’s allegorical call to arms behind the rather anodyne tale about a Lindbergh-esque exploit, based on the real-life story of Andrée Dupeyron, the wife of a garage owner in Mont-de-Marsan. Released in February 1944, a few months before the Liberation, the film was enormously popular in France, galvanising the efforts of the Resistance and their covert supporters with its inspiring subtext. Although Jean Grémillon would go on to make three more notable films, Le Ciel est à vous was his last commercial success, the highpoint of his career before a rapid decline into obscurity. Read More »
Filmed just after the March ceasefire between France and Algeria, LE JOLI MAI documents Paris during a turning point in French history: the first time since 1939 that France was not involved in any war.
Part I, “A Prayer from the Eiffel Tower,” documents personal attitudes and feelings around Paris. A salesman feels free only when he is driving his car, and then only if there is not too much traffic. A working-class mother of eight has just gotten the larger apartment that she had been wanting for years. The space capsule of American astronaut John Glenn is examined by a group of admiring children. Two investors talk about their careers and adventures. A couple in love since their teens discuss the possibility of eternal happiness. At a middle class wedding banquet, the guests are raucous while the bride is quiet, dignified and reserved. Read More »