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French Auteurs:

Restorations, Rarities, and Reevaluations

May 6 - June 2

From May 6 through June 2, we present French Auteurs: Restorations, Rarities, and Reevaluations, a series of eight films highlighting major directors from postwar French cinema. All films are presented in recent digital restorations.

Auteur (French for “author”) refers to the concept of the director as the primary source of artistic value and personal expression in a film. It does not necessarily claim that the director is the only such source, nor that all directors equally exercise the prerogatives of auteurship. The concept was formulated in the 1950s by a group of iconoclastic young French film critics – most famously by François Truffaut in his 1954 article, “A Certain Tendency of French Cinema.” They used it to attack the current establishment in French cinema; to champion often undervalued directors in Hollywood, France, and elsewhere; and to provide a model for their own ambitions when several of these critics became filmmakers at the end of the decade and formed the nucleus of the influential French New Wave movement.

This series centers on four directors, each represented by two films that demonstrate variations on their stylistic signatures and recurring themes – such as the impact of war in René Clément’s two films, the coexistence of youth and death in Agnès Varda’s, characters suspended between lovers (and other things) in Claude Sautet’s, and questions of honor and betrayal in Jean-Pierre Melville’s. The foursome includes directors who represent both the New Wave (Varda) and the “Tradition of Quality” that it rebelled against (Clément). The highly idiosyncratic Varda and Melville exemplify once-underrated filmmakers whose reputations have soared in recent decades, while the more classical Clément and Sautet are the subjects of reevaluations that are still in progress, sparked in part by the recent restorations included in this series.

Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

Special thanks to Brian Belovarac of Janus Films, Eric Di Bernardo of Rialto Pictures, and Tim Lanza of Cohen Media Collection.

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first "French Auteurs" film on applicable Saturdays or Sundays in May, and get a ticket for the second "French Auteurs" film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)