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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This week at SFC:A Nos Amours

STUDIOFILMCLUB
BUILDING 7
FERNANDES INDUSTRIAL CENTER
EASTERN MAIN ROAD
LAVENTILLE
PORT OF SPAIN


STUDIOFILMCLUB is located in the front foyer space of building 7.
Our screenings are FREE and all are welcome.

THURSDAY 24th July 2008

STUDIOFILMCLUB is pleased to be screening our first film by French director Maurice Pialat. Prior to this we will screen the first part of Spike Lee's recent acclaimed HBO documentary 'When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts'. We will screen the second, third and forth acts prior to the next three screenings.


7:3o pm

Part 1 WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS (Spike Lee/USA/2006/256')


This intimate, heart-rending portrait of New Orleans in the wake of the destruction tells the heartbreaking personal stories of those who endured this harrowing ordeal and survived to tell the tale of misery, despair and triumph.

The film also looks at a community that has been through hell and back, surviving death, devastation and disease at every turn. Yet, somehow, amidst the ruins, the people of New Orleans are finding new hope and strength as the city rises from the ashes, buoyed by their own resilience and a rich cultural legacy.

"New Orleans is fighting for its life," says Lee. "These are not people who will disappear quietly - they're accustomed to hardship and slights, and they'll fight for New Orleans. This film will showcase the struggle for New Orleans by focusing on the profound loss, as well as the indomitable spirit of New Orleaneans."


8:30 pm

A NOS AMOURS (Maurice Pialat/France/1983/102')


With his raw style of filmmaking, Maurice Pialat has been called the John Cassavetes of French cinema, and the scorching À nos amours is one of his greatest achievements. In a revelatory film debut, the dynamic, fresh-faced Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a fifteen-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father (played with astonishing magnetism by Pialat himself), ineffectual mother, and brutish brother. A tender character study that can erupt in startling violence, À nos amours is one of the high-water marks of eighties French cinema.


Maurice Pialat (Obituary)


French film master exploring the dark secrets of family strife

Brian Baxter
Wednesday January 15, 2003
The Guardian

When the audience hissed as Maurice Pialat received the Palm d'Or at Cannes for his masterpiece Sous Le Soleil De Satan (1987), the director raised his fist and responded, "I can tell you I don't like you either." Pialat, who has died aged 77, was notorious for his incendiary nature, making considerable demands on audiences, collaborators, and actors.
Such non-conformity led to difficulties in obtaining finance, and he wrote and directed just 10 features, of which at least half were masterworks. Their primary concerns were childhood and family, and Pialat drew on his own experiences to present unyielding portraits of familial cruelty and infidelity. Despite a surface harshness, his films were compassionate in the tradition of his fellow Frenchman, Jean Renoir

Pialat was born in Puys-de-Dôme in the Auvergne, from where his family moved to Paris when he was a child, and he studied at the École des Arts Decoratifs and the École des Beaux Arts. He struggled to make a living as a painter, taking odd jobs and acting; and, in the 1960s, made seven short films, the first of which, L'Amour Existe, won him a prize at the Venice festival. The turning point came with his role as the caustic police inspector in Claude Chabrol's Que La Bête Meure (1969).

By then, Pialat was immersed in cinema, and François Truffaut co-produced his feature debut, L'Enfance Nue (1970). Using non-professionals, this was a stark and moving portrait of a boy pushed into frenzied adolescence by his father's infidelity and his mother's inability to cope; it won critical acclaim and the Prix Jean Vigo. A second personal film, Nous Ne Vieillirons Pas Ensemble (1972), was a harrowingly accurate account of a love affair turned sour.

Two years later, Pialat directed his first masterpiece, La Gueule Ouverte, the story of a 50-year-old mother dying of cancer, told from the perspective of an impotent son and a promiscuous father, rather than the protagonist. Its long takes emphasised the claustrophobic intensity of the situation, and, released in English as The Mouth Agape, its power was underpinned by a documentary fidelity suffused with compassion.

It was five years before his next film, Passe Ton Bac D'abord, a portrait of attractive young graduates seemingly destined to a sterile future, which received less exposure than his trilogy. But that changed with Loulou (1980), the first of four collaborations with Gérard Depardieu, whose hard-bitten early years and blend of physicality and tenderness seemed a reflection of the director's contradictory personality.

Loulou cast Depardieu as a sex-obsessed slob seducing a refined Isabelle Huppert. The film caused consternation, but was a commercial success, and led to Pialat directing four defining masterworks.

A Nos Amours (1983) introduced the teenage Sandrine Bonnaire, as a girl seeking sexual partners in consolation for a desolate life and an inability to make peace with her father (played by Pialat with characteristic force). As before, it used non-professionals and a blend of experienced and novice actors to give authenticity, and won the César (France's equivalent to the Oscar) as best film, an award echoed by the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc.

Its success allowed Pialat his first big-budget venture, Police (1985), starring Depardieu as a racist detective waging war against Arab drug dealers in Marseilles. The brutality of the opening, and the cop's practice of the bottin treatment - using telephone directories on suspects' heads - were controversial, though mollified by the presence of the star as anti-hero.

The Pialat-Depardieu collaboration reached its zenith with Sous Le Soleil De Satan (1987), adapted from one of the two novels by Georges Bernanos, featuring two portrayals of the character of the teenage girl Mouchette, which he said were united "in nothing except the tragic solitude in which I noticed both of them live and die".

Bresson's incomparable film of the same name, Mouchette, depicts that life from a spiritual viewpoint, but Pialat's response is almost visceral in its depiction of the self-flagellating priest who fails to reform a wilful, and ultimately murderous, youngster (Bonnaire). Her wildness and suicide are - as with the Bresson - underpinned by a stark sense of rural life.

Four years later, Pialat wrote and directed the ambitious Van Gogh, detailing the painter's life from May to July 1890, with the iconic singer-writer Jacques Dutronc as the artist - a role that won him the best actor César. The most exuberant of Pialat's films, it retains the underlying warmth and integrity of all his work.

For his last film, Le Garçu (1995), he returned to childhood and family themes, casting his son Antoine, who survives him, as the four-year-old victim of adulterous parents. It closed a career dominated by a rigorous, never facile, view of humanity.

Brian Baxter

Maurice Pialat, filmmaker, born August 21 1925; died January 10 2003

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