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THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED FOR
MEMBERS OF THE PRESS ONLY
Date: October 9, 2006
Contact: Margot Gerber
Tel: (323) 461-2020, ext. 115
THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS
FABULOUS VERSAILLES AT THE AERO THEATRE
Presented in association with Ile de France Film Commission.
With the support of the French Film & TV Department of the French Consulate, Los Angeles.
November 3 - 5, 2006
HOLLYWOOD The American Cinematheque presents Fabulous Versailles, November 3 - 5 at the Aero Theatre. A series of films set at the famous French palace, which is gaining renewed celebrity in the wake of Sofia Coppolas MARIE ANTOINETTE. The weekend includes screenings of films featuring historical events that took place in Versailles such as the orignal uncut version of Sacha Guitrys ROYAL AFFAIRS IN VERSAILLES (SI VERSAILLES METAIT CONTE) about the Louis XI era starring Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles and Bridgette Bardot; Andrzej Wajdas DANTON about Georges Danton (Gérard Depardieu) and Cammile Desmoulins (Patrice Chéreau) attempt to foster peace and tolerance during the Robspierre Reign of Terror and Jean Renoirs LE MARSEILLAISE illustrating events of the French Revolution leading to the fall of the monarchy in 1792. This is a rare opportunity to see three films that are not available on DVD. All screenings are at the Max Palevsky Theatre at the Aero Theatre (1328 Montana Ave) in Santa Monica. All guests subject to availability.
Versailles is once again on the big screen with these French classics! Versailles is not only an important part of French history, but also of our American heritage. This is where the New World took a new path when LaFayette and Benjamin Franklin convinced Louis XVI to engage France as our ally in the War of Independence. A couple of centuries later a conference at Versailles, organized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 affirmed the United States as a world power, changing the map of Europe. From the Revolution to the Versailles Treaty, Versailles castle is at the center of world history and has a place too, in the history of cinema, from the Brothers Lumiere to Hollywood, from Sacha Guitry to Renoir, from W.S. Van Dyke to Sofia Coppola.
Friday, November 3, 2006: Aero Theatre
The Friday, November 3rd program is a 7:30 PM screening of the original uncut version of ROYAL AFFAIRS IN VERSAILLES (SI VERSAILLES METAIT CONTE) (1954, Rene Chateaux, 165 min.). With his usual wit and exuberance, director Sacha Guitry traces an episodic, Technicolor history of Versailles for three hundred years. Favoring bedroom antics and poetic observations, the writer-director himself stars as Louis XI alongside a gargantuan cast that also features Jean Marais, Claudette Colbert, Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, Gérard Philipe and even Orson Welles in the role of Ben Franklin ("In that particular wig," Welles would later recount, "it's impossible for me to look like anything except a dirty old man"). Among Guitry's final films -- the 1885-born writer-director died in 1957 -- SI VERSAILLES M'ÉTAIT CONTÉ proved the biggest success of the French box-office in 1954. However, the film, like many of Guitry's others, was roundly lambasted by left-wing critics particularly due to its perceived royalist leanings later, even Roland Barthes would criticize the "limited artifice" of its costumes as one which "corrupts the landscape, appears mean, seedy, absurd." However, François Truffaut came to Guitry's defense. A longtime admirer of Guitry, Truffaut compared him to Jean Renoir both directors beholden to "a clearer view of life as it is: a comedy with a hundred different acts, of which the screen is well suited to offer the most exact reflections." - and professed that Guitry was "the ideal figure of the free man, above convention, indifferent to the judgment of contemptuous intellectuals and the condemnations of political conscience." These compliments were returned when, twenty years later, Robert Lachenay, as one of the last visitors to a dying Truffaut, noted that, "In his bed, Francois looked like Sacha Guitry, in the picture one of the last where you see him editing a film." Currently, the film is only available in the United States as ROYAL AFFAIRS IN VERSAILLES: a dubbed, black and white VHS that shaves off an entire hour of the film's original running time of over 160 minutes. NOT ON DVD.
Saturday, November 4, 2006: Aero Theatre
The Saturday, November 4th program is a 7:30 PM screening of DANTON (1983, Janus Film, 136 min.). Directed by Andrzej Wajda while in exile, the Polish filmmaker's French language debut is an adaptation of "The Danton Affair" written in the 1920s by the Communist playwright, Stanislawa Przybyszewska. Set in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution, the film depicts a famished and devastated Paris under the Reign of Terror as the government of the ruthless Maximilien de Robespierre (Wojciech Pszoniak) intimidates any opponents to its absolute power. Against this horrific regime arises Georges Danton (an "exuberantly earthy" Gérard Depardieu, per Andrew Sarris), one time ally and friend of the leader. Seeking an end to the ceaseless bloodshed, Danton, joined by Camille Desmoulins (writer-director Patrice Chéreau in his first acting role), attempts to foster peace and mediate tolerance in the streets of the capital. Seen by Robespierre as an affront to his authority, particularly due to rumors of a coup plot planted by the tyrant's own cronies, Danton is imprisoned. Facing an off-the-record trial that excludes reporters, negates the defense's right to call witnesses and even denies him the opportunity to vocally address his charges, Danton awaits the guillotine with steely resolve. A scandal in Paris during its release due to Wajda's apparent displacement of Polish politics onto French history specifically, Danton was commonly considered a stand-in for Lech Walesa, the original leader of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement, while Robespierre not only invokes Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's Prime Minister who used martial law against Walesa, but also Joseph Stalin - in America, Andrew Sarris professed in the Village Voice that "I do not know of any play or movie that has ever come so close to suggesting the fascinating complexity of the French Revolution." Years later in the same paper, J. Hoberman would call it "Wajda's last great movie." The oddest compliment may come by way of the veteran American experimentalist Stan Brakhage, who reckoned DANTON was his favorite film at the 1983 Telluride Film Festival. NOT ON DVD.
Sunday, November 5, 2006: Aero Theatre
The Sunday, November 5th program begins with a 7:30 PM screening ofLA MARSEILLAISE (1938, Connaissance du Cinema, 135 min.). Jean Renoir's second commission from the Popular Front, a left-wing coalition of the French Communist and Socialist parties for whom he oversaw the production of LA VIE EST À NOUS in 1936, illustrates events of leading to the fall of the monarchy in 1792 and the beginning of the French Revolution. Written and directed by Renoir and starring his brother Pierre in the role of Louis XVI, the film refuses to depict the king or his patrician allies as villainous caricatures. Instead it is, in Renoir's own words, "a witness of the daily life of the participants of a great tragedy," all thirty or so of them. There are the soldiers from Marseille, many played by minor actors with genuine regional accents, which carry with them a song from the Rhineland that will become France's national anthem (after which the film itself is named). The king, while crowds are ransacking the Bastille, ponders a tomato and regrets its absence from his diet. A peasant (Edouard Delmont) flees to the mountains after being sentenced to death for killing an aristocratic pigeon. Marie Antoinette (Lise Deamante whose costumes are designed by Coco Chanel) campaigns against the new hygienic practice of brushing teeth. "We note much nobility in the revolutionaries, much ingenuity and honesty in the nobles," François Truffaut noted, "Renoir serves up an entire world." "Jean Renoir's great accomplishment is to have made a film so contemporary, so captivating, so human that we are carried away for more than two hours as if it were our own life being fought out before our very eyes." Louis Aragon. Later, Truffaut hailed it as a "neorealist fresco" with "the look of newsreels" while Dudley Andrew hoped that though LA MARSEILLAISE was "a populist film that disappointed the populace of its time," it "ought to stand a good chance with us." NOT ON DVD. DANTON AND LE MARSEILLAISE FILM STILLS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST BY E-MAIL.
WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.
A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films is available on our website.
General Admission is $10. Double Features are two films for one admission price.
There is generally a 7 10 minute intermission between films.
24-Hour information: 323.466.FILM
REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:
TICKET REQUESTS MUST BE IN WRITING AND SHOULD BE FAXED TO 323-461-9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW TIME. THURSDAY AT 6 PM IS THE ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR REQUESTS FOR WEEKEND SCREENINGS. PLEASE INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT WHEN YOUR COVERAGE WILL APPEAR AND A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR MEDIA OUTLET.
JOURNALISTS WISHING TO AUDIO OR VIDEOTAPE DISCUSSIONS MUST ALSO SEND A FAXED REQUEST. IF YOUR REQUEST IS ACCEPTED, YOU WILL PICK UP YOUR TICKETS THE NIGHT OF
THE SHOW AT THE BOX OFFICE. Details at: http://www.americancinematheque.com/pressreleases/pressticketpolicies.htm
THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD screens select Saturdays & Sundays at 11:30 AM exclusively at the Egyptian Theatre with historic tours. Screening & dates
will be on our website. For press passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.
American Cinematheque, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
(tel) 323.466-FILM (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web: http://www.americancinematheque.com