Hollywood be damned – France can rightly claim its title as the birthplace of cinema, and the films from its shores – or made elsewhere by sons and daughters of the Republic – continue to be relevant everywhere.
Recent cases in point: The Artist, the 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Picture; La Vie en Rose, which memorably introduced Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard to America as Edith Piaf; and Intouchables, a huge hit in Europe that found a sizable audience in many U.S. locales – including the Flint Institute of Arts Theater.
With this in mind, the Friends of Modern Art film series at the FIA has a decidedly Gallic flavor this October.
We begin October 3-5 with A Summer’s Tale, a special HD restoration of Eric Rohmer’s classic romance from 1996, which is finally enjoying its first U.S. theatrical release. The third film in the late, great, New Wave director’s Tales of the Four Seasons quartet concerns a young resort vacationer who must choose among three women who enter his life.
Jean Reno, familiar to American audiences for roles in the likes of Ronin, The Professional, and The Da Vinci Code, stars in the October 10-12 FIA selection, Le Chef. He plays a conceited celebrity chef who requires the help of a younger gastronome to keep his lofty reputation intact.
Chinese Puzzle, coming to the museum on October 17-19, is a comedy about a French writer who experiences culture shock – and much more – when he follows the mother of his children to New York City, where she has suddenly moved them.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski helmed the series’ October 24-26 title, Venus in Fur. This film-fest favorite in Cannes and Paris features an obscure French actress’ attempts to convince a stage director that she’s perfect for a part. Co-stars Matthew Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner were also memorable together in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a few years back.
There’s more than just French on the FIA docket this month, as the museum offers a special one-night-only screening on October 30 of Ishiro Honda’s 1954 classic Godzilla (aka Gojira). Now issued theatrically as Godzilla: The Japanese Original, this is the famed monster movie as it was released in Japan, not in the U.S. Audiences here saw a version with English-language inserts featuring Raymond Burr. As part of the “Best of FOMA” series, this is a nice way to mark Halloween.
All FIA screenings are at 7:30pm Fridays and Saturdays (plus the Thursday night showing of Godzilla) and 2pm Sundays. Regular series tickets, available at the door, are $6 general admission, $5 for FIA members, and $4 for FOMA members. “Best of FOMA” tickets are $2 apiece. For more details, visit flintarts.org.