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French Literary Evening with Arthur Dreyfus Lycée Français De New York 505 East 75th Street Cultural Center auditorium New York, NY 10021 United States

Jacques Becker: A Master before the Wave

Casque d'Or directed by Jacques Becker (1952)

The Cinémathèque at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, in collaboration with the Institut Français and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago & New York, presents eight films by Jacques Becker. Becker’s relatively small body of work constitutes some of the most engaging cinema of postwar Europe. With compassion, wit, and a gift for working with actors and actresses, he became a perceptive chronicler of life in Paris during the 1940s and 1950s.

He distinguished himself in the French film industry with a series of box office successes that saw him oscillating between period melodramas, working-class romances, nail-biting studies in suspense, and even an absorbing biopic of a great artist. Becker, in a career that was cut short by his untimely death at age 53, counted Francois Truffaut, Jean Renoir and Jean-Pierre Melville among his admirers.


PROGRAM

Le Trou (1960)
Becker, brings his humanism and gift for careful, realistic observation to this classic prison-escape movie, the last work of his career.

  • Sat, Jan 19th 7:00pm

Montparnasse 19 / Les Amants de Montparnasse (1958)
Based on the last year (1919-20) in the tragically short life of Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani (played by Philipe, soon to die young himself), this biopic charts the artist’s poverty, struggle for authenticity, thwarted love, and eventual downfall.

  • Sat, Jan 26th 7:00pm

Rue de l'Estrapade (1953)
Becker’s “romantic comedy of decadence, frivolity, and cynicism seems imbued with the very high-gloss lacquer that it derides...Beneath its blithe humor, it is a bleak vision of mismatched lives and misguided mores” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker).

  • Sat, Feb 2nd 7:00pm

Rendez-vous in July (1949)
Becker, an eternal inspiration for Truffaut and others, captured the spirit of the time with this effervescent, ultimately revelatory romantic comedy, a prototype for the French New Wave ten years before it hit shore.

  • Sat, Feb 9th 7:00pm

Edouard et Caroline (1951)
Has the allure of an American screwball comedy but with increased class-consciousness” (David Mermelstein, The Wall Street Journal).

  • Sat, Feb 16th 7:00pm

Antoine et Antoinette (1947)
Through a clever and subtle accumulation of social details and multiple, finely sketched characters, the decidedly humanist Becker creates a fully realized inter-connected universe within one block of the 18th arrondissement.

  • Sat, Feb 16th 8:45pm

Casque d'Or (1952)
An important precursor to the French New Wave, especially Truffaut’s Jules et Jim, Becker sets the action against the atmospheric backdrop of the Belle Époque Parisian underworld.

  • Sat, Feb 23rd 7:00pm

Falbalas (1945)
This wonderful cinematic precursor to Phantom Thread counts among its admirers Jean-Paul Gaultier, who said Falbalas “gave me my vocation in life. It directed the way I should make fashion.”

  • Sat, March 2nd 7:00pm
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