Mid-year in Paris: TIFF Cinematheque presents ‘Summer in France’

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Starting July 13th and running through September 2nd, prepare yourself to be transported to a summer vacation in France. All you have to do is check in at TIFF Cinematheque (350 King Street West, Toronto).

The 41-film sabbatical will make take you to popular and renowned destinations that include Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou (1965), Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), and Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion (1937).

We’ll even be making stops at more remote, recherché locations, such as Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore (1973) and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969).

Remember to pack lightly, re-schedule accordingly, and prepare for the ultimate staycation. Bon voyage!

Screenings include:

La Grand Illusion (1937)

Friday July 13 at 6:00 PM

Sunday July 22 at 7:30 PM

117 minutes

Heralded as “one of the fifty best films in the history of cinema” by Time Out Film Guide, Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece receives a stunning new digital restoration.

The Rules of the Game (1950)

Friday July 13 at 9:00 PM

110 minutes

Described by fellow Frenchman, François Truffaut, as “the credo of film lovers” and “the film of films”, Jean Renoir’s most perennial picture recounts the escapades of the French bourgeois class. To be introduced at the screening by Now Magazine’s Norm Wilner.

French Cancan (1955)

Saturday July 14 at 5:00 PM

105 minutes

The only thing more French than Jean Renoir is the Moulin Rouge, so a vibrant, fin-de-siècle film about the founding of the cabaret must serve as the pinnacle for all things French and Parisian.

Army of Shadows (1969)

Tuesday July 17 at 6:00PM

145 minutes

Released in North America for the first time in 2006, Jean-Pierre Melville, the film noir master, directs a gripping portrayal of honour and betrayal set in the clandestine world of the French Resistance during the Nazi Occupation.

Remorques (1940)

Thursday July 19 at 6:30 PM

85 minutes

Jean Grémillon’s wartime hit, which was selected by the British Film Institute as a core work of cinema, tells the story of a passionate love affair between two mysterious people; everlastingly buoyed by an evocative maritime setting and an outstanding cast.

Lumière d’été (1942)

Thursday July 19 at 8:45 PM

90 minutes

Often compared to The Rules of the Game and considered one of the greatest French films of the Occupation, this picture is “a masterpiece by the great, neglected Jean Grémillon” (Johnathan Rosenbaum) about the uneasy and ultimately explosive interactions between members the bourgeoisie and the proletariat class in a country manor.

Le Quai des brumes (1938)

Friday July 20 at 6:30 PM

89 minutes

The source inspiration and muse for Aki Kaurismäki’s recent hit, Le Havre, Marcel Carné’s lyrical and crucial picture about an army deserter trying to flee from a port city of the same name is “as epochal as any film made in France in the 1930’s” (Luc Sante) which influenced subsequent French filmmaking and, later, American film noir.

Diabolique (1955)

Friday July 20 at 8:45 PM

116 minutes

“One of the most suspenseful films ever made” (James Monaco), Henri-Georges Clouzot reportedly beat Alfred Hitchcock to the punch in adapting the story of two women conspiring to murder a mutual paramour from a novel to the silver screen. The authors of said novel later wrote another that was to be the basis for Vertigo.

Les Enfants du paradis (1945)

Saturday July 21 at 1:00 PM

193 minutes

Voted the best French film of the 20th century in a poll of 600 French film critics and professionals, and often considered to be France’s answer to Gone With the Wind, Marcel Carné’s “triumphant masterpiece” and sweeping romantic epic about a love quadrangle set in the theatrical world of 1840’s Paris returns with a sumptuous restoration taken from the camera negative.

Le Plaisir (1952)

Saturday July 21 at 5:00 PM

97 minutes

One of Max Ophüls’ “most lavish films” was based on three de Maupassant tales and was also chosen by the equally legendary Jean-Luc Godard as the best film made in Post War France.

La Bandera (1935)

Sunday July 22 at 5:00 PM

102 minutes

Jean Renoir once said of the film’s director, Julien Duvivier: “If I were an architect and I had to build a monument to the cinema, I would place a statue of Duvivier above the entrance.” There’s not better proof of why than in his film about a man trying to escape from his past by joining the Spanish Foreign Legion.

The 400 Blows (1959)

Monday July 23 at 6:30 PM

99 minutes

François Truffaut’s autobiographical first feature, imbued with loving homages to filmmakers like Hitchcock and Welles, has been heralded as “one of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent” (Roger Ebert).

Small Change (1976)

Tuesday July 24 at 6:30 PM

104 minutes

François Truffaut’s “lilting, marvelously funny and wise” (Vincent Canby) poetic comedy about Provincial French children will be screening in Toronto for the first time in well over a decade.

Belle de Jour (1967)

Thursday July 26 at 9:00 PM

102 minutes

Luis Buñuel’s wittily surreal comedy emerged from a long absence in the mid-nineties, proving to be as equally shocking, chic and perverse as when it first scandalized the bourgeois world with its tale of a housewife fulfilling her masochistic fantasies.

Jules et Jim (1961)

Friday July 27 at 6:15 PM

104 minutes

François Truffaut’s sublimely romantic picture about a decades-long love triangle is one that Jean Renoir jealously wished he’d made, and is sometimes regarded as his “finest film” (Vincent Canby).

The Bride Wore Black (1967)

Friday July 27 at 8:45 PM

107 minutes

François Truffaut’s elegant and elaborate homage to Hitchcock, which spawned an indelible female fixture in cinema, most notably in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, tells the story of a vengeful woman looking to avenge the death of her groom, whom was killed on their wedding day.

L’Enfance nue (1968)

Saturday July 28 at 5:45 PM

80 minutes

Following the hallowed tradition of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Vigo’s Zéro de conduite, Maurice Pialat’s film on adolescent angst is “one of the most remarkably self-contained and obdurate debuts in cinema history” (Phillip Lopate).

La Peau douce (1964)

Sunday July 29 at 7:00 PM100 minutes

100 minutes

Always considered to contain Françoise Dorléac’s greatest performance as a stewardess turned fatal, François Truffaut’s “masterwork of erotic frenzy” (The New Yorker) has recently been reappraised as one of his bests as well (J. Hoberman).

La Femme infidèle (1968)

Friday August 3 at 6:30 PM

98 minutes

Unavailable in Canada for more than three decades and featuring an extended homage to Psycho, this film about the murderous consequences of a bored housewife’s afternoon affaire de Coeur is “exquisitely detailed, impeccably acted, [and] stunningly directed” by Claude Chabrol (Pauline Kael).

Le Feu follet (1963)

Saturday August 4 at 5:00 PM

108 minutes

An adaptation of Pierre Drieu La Rochelle’s novel about a suicidal playboy making his final rounds with his friends, family and lovers is considered director Louis Malle’s “first masterpiece” and “one of his finest films” (Philip French).

Le Pont du Nord (1981)

Wednesday August 8 at 6:30 PM

135 minutes

Jacques Rivette’s enigmatic thriller about an ex-con’s riveting treasure hunt through Paris is “[an] amazing, mysterious masterpiece” (Daniel Kasman) filled with references to films by Kurosawa, Bertolucci, Truffaut, Eisenstein and countless others.

Breathless (1959)

Thursday August 9 at 6:30 PM

90 minutes

Next to Citizen Kane, Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece about a small-time hoodlum on the run with his American girlfriend remains as one of the most famous directorial debuts in cinematic history and has since been said to be “the most important of the New Wave films [and] also the most passionate” (Andrew Sarris).

Vivre sa vie (1962)

Thursday August 9 at 8:45 PM

85 minutes

Jean-Luc Godard’s breathtakingly Brechtian tale of a woman’s gradual incorporation into the world of prostitution is “one of the most extraordinary, beautiful, and original works of art” (Susan Sontag).

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1966)

Friday August 10 at 6:30 PM

90 minutes

“One of the ten best films in the history of cinema” (J. Hoberman), Jean-Luc Godard uses the story a young wife and mother noon-lighting as prostitutes as a basis for his sharp commentary on materialism and the state of an evolving Paris.

Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Friday August 10 at 8:45 PM

110 minutes

Jean-Luc Godard’s study of sexual obsession, betrayal, and cinematic salute to amour fou follows a bored novelist and his mistress gallivanting from their banal existences to a more culturally rich and contemplative life; with plenty of corpses, burning cars, and a number of famous sequences peppered in between.

Le Combat dans l’île (1962)

Saturday August 11 at 5:00 PM

104 minutes

A politically charged thriller and romance involving a young woman and her jealous, parliamentarian husband, director Alain Cavalier’s acting tour de force features “three of the most accomplished actors of European cinema ” (Elliot Stein), including Romy Schneider, known as one of “the best actress of her generation” (Luchino Visconti).

Weekend (1967)

Thursday August 16 at 6:30 PM

105 minutes

TIFF Director and CEO, Piers Handling, will be on hand to introduce Jean-Luc Godard’s apocalyptic road trip comedy, which follows the escapades of a ‘civilized’ married couple that range from consumerism to cannibalism, wanton slaughter and automotive madness.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Friday August 17 at 6:30 PM

94 minutes

Alain Resnais’ eternally mysterious and immensely influential film about an equally mysterious man trying to convince a woman that they’ve had an affair a year ago is “one of the most enigmatic films in cinema history” and “a visually rapturous experience” (Peter Keough).

Muriel (1963)

Friday August 17 at 8:45 PM

116 minutes

Alain Resnais’ “most beautiful film” (Jean-Louis Comolli) chronicles a middle-aged widow’s reunion with her ex-lover and her stepson, who is haunted by a terrible event he witnessed during the Algerian War.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Saturday August 18 at 5:30 PM

91 minutes

Jacques Demy’s “heartfelt, passionate, tragic musical suite” (Jonathan Rosenbaum) about a young woman who falls in love with a handsome auto mechanic, against the behest of her mother, launched the star-studded career of Catherine Deneuve.

Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962)

Monday August 20 at 6:30 PM

90 minutes

“In the cinema of enchantment”, Agnès Varda’s film about a beautiful young pop singer who spends two hours wandering through the summertime streets of Paris while awaiting a possibly fatal prognosis, “ranks pretty high” (Time Out New York).

Sans Soleil (1982)/ La Jetée (1962)

Tuesday August 21 at 6:30 PM

100 minutes/28 minutes

The two films, by the great Chris Marker, present a masterful meditation on time and memory, one told by an influential science-fiction classic and the other by one of the greatest “essay films” ever made.

Van Gogh (1991)

Saturday August 25 at 1:00 PM

160 minutes

“One of the ten best films of [its] decade” (Michel Ciment), confirmed by TIFF Cinematheque’s international poll of film curators and historians, Maurice Pialat’s brilliant and intensely moving depiction of the famous painter’s last days is “a film of compelling beauty and humanity” (Le Monde).

Le Rayon vert (1986)

Sunday August 26 at 4:00 PM

96 minutes

Not screened in Toronto for almost two decades, a woman’s desperate search for a companion to share her summer vacation in the south of France is director Eric Rohmer’s “ultimate masterwork” (Andrew Sarris).

The Mother and the Whore (1973)

Sunday August 26 at 7:00 PM

210 minutes

“Possibly the most important film of 1973” (James Monaco), Jean Eustache’s picture about youthful disenchantment in the wake of May 1968, hidden under an intense ménage à trois, is “a historical marker in a way that few other films are” (Jonathan Rosenbaum).

Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Wednesday August 29 at 6:30 PM

90 minutes

Georges Franju’s haunting film about an unhinged scientist’s gruesome lengths to repair the mutilated face of his beloved daughter, à la The Skin I Live In, is “one of the most poetic horror films in the history of cinema” (Evening Standard).

Thomas the Imposter (1965)

Thursday August 30 at 6:30 PM

90 minutes

Georges Franju’s story of a naïve and credulous young man thrown into the maelstrom of World War I is “compulsive, and utterly absorbing” (Time Out London).

Mademoiselle (1966)

Thursday August 30 at 8:45 PM

103 minutes

A sadomasochistic schoolmistress in provincial France meets her match with a peripatetic Italian labourer in Tony Richardson’s delectably depraved film.

Playtime (1967)

Friday August 31 at 6:30 PM

Saturday September 1 at 1:00 PM

Sunday September 2 at 7:00 PM

Structured around two characters in six sequences, director Jacques Tati’s immortal, inexhaustibly inventive comedy classic is considered his “most brilliant film” (Vincent Canby).

Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962)

Saturday September 1 at 5:00 PM

107 minutes

Georges Franju’s film about a woman driven to murderous means to escape her insufferable marriage, adapted from a novel by François Mauriac, gives Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris a run for its money as “one of the most successful fusions of cinema and literature ever produced” (Philip Kemp).

Elevator to the Gallows (1957)

Sunday September 2 at 3:30 PM

90 minutes

Louis Malle’s brilliant debut feature, about a fastidious adulterer who engineers the perfect murder to escape the confines of her marriage, is “a terrific thriller” (Terrence Rafferty) “made in a tense yet velvety style” (Pauline Kael).

All pictures and information courtesy of TIFF

For more information and tickets, please visit the official website

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