New York, New York, February 2011 – The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, in collaboration with Unifrance and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, welcomes two of France’s most acclaimed directors, Bertrand Tavernier and Coline Serreau, who will each present a special screening of one of their most beloved films on the occasion of the 16th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual showcase of the best in contemporary French film. On March 4, the screening of L.627 will be followed by a discussion with director Bertrand Tavernier and film critic Kent Jones; on March 5, the screening of The Crisis will be followed by a discussion with director Coline Serreau.
March 4 at 7pm
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier, 1992. Color. 145 min.
With Didier Bezace, Jean-Paul Comart, Charlotte Kady, Jean-Roger Milo
In French with English subtitles
This gritty police drama shows us the underbelly of the Parisian drug trade. Lulu is a tough, streetwise narcotics cop who, like a Frank Serpico or a Dirty Harry Callahan, doesn’t play by the rules or kowtow to his weak and corrupt superiors. Lulu thrives in this violent world, where sheer guts can overcome his squad’s deficiencies of money and equipment. Despite the ruthless environment in which he lives and works every day, Lulu still manages somehow to maintain his humanity. Nominated for four 1993 César awards, including Best Director, Best Film, and Best Screenplay.
Renowned director, screenwriter, and producer Bertrand Tavernier has created dramas encompassing themes as diverse as familial relationships, World War I, and contemporary social ills. Regardless of the subjects they explore, Tavernier lends his films great introspection and humanity, something that has established him as one of French cinema’s most progressive and compassionate figures. Born in Lyon on April 25, 1941, Tavernier grew up with a love of film and aspired to be a director from the age of 13. He was particularly influenced by such American directors as Joseph Losey, John Ford, Samuel Fuller, and William Wellman. During a spell at the Sorbonne where he studied law, Tavernier became involved in the film industry as an assistant director for Jean-Pierre Melville. Later, he worked as a film critic, writing for such prestigious publications as Cahiers du Cinéma and Positif. Tavernier’s first film, The Clockmaker (L’horloger de St. Paul, 1974), won the Prix Louis Delluc and the Special Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Tavernier’s early work was dominated by mysteries, but his later films are characterized by a more overt social commentary, highlighting his pacifism (Life and Nothing But, Capitaine Conan) and presenting a critical picture of contemporary French society. Tavernier won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language in 1990 for Life and Nothing But, and has received a total of four César Awards. His latest film, The Princess of Montpensier, premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and will be presented at this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.
Kent Jones has worn many hats: archivist (for Martin Scorsese’s Cappa Productions), programmer (for New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center), and critic. He began writing for Film Comment in 1996, quickly establishing a strong presence within the magazine. Since becoming editor-at-large, he has played an important role in opening the magazine up to a more cosmopolitan perspective. As a critic, Jones has always maintained this perspective himself—writing extensively in English on French and American cinema for Cahiers du Cinéma.
The Crisis (La crise)
March 5 at 7pm
Directed by Coline Serreau, 1992. Color. 95 min.
With Vincent Lindon, Patrick Timsit, Zabou Breitman, Christian Benedetti
In French with English subtitles
High-powered businessman Victor loses both his wife and his job on the same day. It’s the worst day of his life, but who can he turn to? Every one of his friends is too wrapped up in his or her own personal crisis to lend him a moment’s sympathy. Even his parents have no time for him—they are too busy putting an end to their own marriage. The only person who can empathize with Victor is Michou, a friendless but amiable down-and-out… Nominated for seven César awards; winner, César for Best Screenplay.
Coline Serreau began her career as an actress, making her debut in 1970 at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. After revealing her talent in a wide range of productions, from Cafés Théâtres to repertoire classics, Serreau wrote her first screenplay in 1973. Two years later, she directed her first short for television, Le rendez-vous, which was followed by the documentary But What Do Women Want? (Mais qu’est-ce qu’elles veulent?). After it premiered in competition at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival, Serreau’s reputation as a feminist artist began to take shape. In 1985, she encountered worldwide success with Three Men and a Baby (Trois hommes et un couffin), in which three men are confronted with fatherhood. The film received three César awards, including Best Writing and Best Film, and the 1987 English-language remake became the biggest box-office hit of the year in the United States. In 1989, Serreau embraced another struggle, interracial tolerance, through the love story of a CEO and a black cleaning lady in Romuald et Juliette. This was followed by The Crisis (La crise), a harsh, yet humorous depiction of a generation confronted with unemployment, divorce, and family crisis. Coline Serreau found success again with her 2001 film Chaos, a story denouncing society’s lack of courage, and with 18 ans après, the sequel to Three Men and a Baby. Her latest film, Think Global, Act Rural (Solutions locales pour un désordre global), is an engaged documentary about the ecological, but also economic, crisis, and will premiere at this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.