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Film Series: Forever Jeanne Moreau

One year ago this July, the beloved French actress and screen legend, Jeanne Moreau, passed away. Moreau was one of the most famous faces of the French New Wave film movement, and an embodiment of the iconic 'femme fatale.' This summer, the Cultural Services of French Embassy is putting on a four part film series to pay tribute to the memory of “the greatest actress in the world” according to Orson Welles. Featuring a selection of Jeanne Moreau’s best roles, this programme also illustrates her collaborations with the most renowned directors of her time, from Louis Malle to François Truffaut or Luis Buñel.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

Elevator to the Gallows / Ascenseur pour l'échafaud by Louis Malle
1957 – France – 92 min
June 12
| 7:00 p.m.

Florence (Jeanne Moreau) is married to the wealthy arms dealer Simon Carala (Jean Wall), but is carrying on a torrid affair with one of her husband's employees, Julien (Maurice Ronet). Julien daringly climbs into Simon's office on a rope, kills him and leaves unnoticed. However, Julien accidentally leaves the rope at the crime scene and realizes he must retrieve it. On his way out, he becomes stuck in the building's elevator. But he soon finds that his bad luck is just beginning.

A career touchstone for its director and female star, Elevator to the Gallows was an astonishing beginning to Malle’s eclectic body of work, and it established Moreau as one of the most captivating actors ever to grace the screen, with a now legendary jazz score by Miles Davis.

Jules and Jim / Jules et Jim by François Truffaut
1962 – France – 102 min 
June 26
| 7:00 p.m.

In the carefree days before World War I, introverted Austrian author Jules (Oskar Werner) strikes up a friendship with the exuberant Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre). Both men fall for the impulsive and beautiful Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), but it's Jules who wins her hand. After the war, Jim visits Jules, Catherine and their daughter in their Austrian home and discovers not only that his feelings for Catherine are unchanged, but also that they are reciprocated.

Bay of Angels / La Baie des anges by Jacques Demy
1963 – France – 84 min 
July 10 | 7:00 p.m.

This precisely wrought, emotionally penetrating romantic drama from Jacques Demy, set largely in the casinos of Nice, is a visually lovely but darkly realistic investigation into love and obsession. A bottle-blonde named Jackie (Jeanne Moreau) is at her blithe best as a gorgeous gambling addict, and Jean Fournier (Claude Mann) a young bank clerk drawn into her risky world. Featuring a mesmerizing score by Michel Legrand, Bay of Angels is among Demy’s most somber works.

Diary of a Chambermaid / Le Journal d'une femme de chambre by Luis Buñuel
1964 – France – 98 min 
July 24 | 7:00 p.m.

This wicked adaptation of the Octave Mirbeau novel is classic Luis Buñuel. Celestine (Jeanne Moreau) is a beautiful Parisian domestic, who upon arrival at her new job at a provincial estate in 1930s France, entrenches herself in sexual hypocrisy and scandal with her philandering employer (Buñuel regular Michel Piccoli). Filmed in luxurious black-and-white Franscope, Diary of a Chambermaid is a raw-edged tangle of fetishism and murder and a scathing look at the burgeoning fascism of the 1930s.

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