Buy your tickets to An Evening with Pierre Lhomme in advance for the chance to win a DVD of Army of Shadows (now out of print) or Sweet Movie courtesy of the Criterion Collection! Winners will be notified by email in advance of Thursday's screenings.
The world-renowned French cinematographer Pierre Lhomme will be at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Thursday, September 12 for a screening of three of his acclaimed works: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows and two shorts, Chris Marker’s Be Seeing You and The Medvedkin Group’s Class of Struggle. Having lensed for directors such as James Ivory, Robert Bresson, Joris Ivens and Jean Eustache, the BAFTA and Cannes winner (for Cyrano de Bergerac starring Gérard Depardieu) has had a prolific career spanning over six decades. Beginning Friday, Film Forum will present a newly restored print of the Lhomme/Marker co-directed Le Joli Mai to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Released in France in 1969 and arriving stateside to much acclaim 37 years later, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows was one of American cinephiles’ most sought after titles of the 2000s. In an essay for the film’s Criterion home video release, film critic Amy Taubin documented the film’s long road to the United States. “The film is adapted from Joseph Kessel’s Army of Shadows, an account of the author’s experience in the French Resistance, published in London in 1943,” Taubin wrote. “The timing of [the film’s] initial French release, in the fall of 1969, could not have been worse. Most serious French critics, including those of the influential Cahiers du cinéma, savaged the film for what they saw as its glorification of General Charles de Gaulle, who, then president, was despised as the betrayer of the May 1968 student uprising.”
When the dust settled and a new perspective was gained, the film received a new following; critics such as Manhola Dargis, David Ansen and Scott Foundas cited the work as the best film of 2006. The late Roger Ebert proclaimed, “rarely has a film shown so truly that place in the heart where hope lives with fatalism.”
The two shorts being screened reveal an idea and an idea revised. Also works of the late 60s, Chris Marker and Mario Marret’s Be Seeing You documented textile workers on strike in Besançon. Unsatisfied with the impersonal results, Marker made the ultimately democratic push to give the camera over to the workers themselves. The result was Class of Struggles, with directorial credit given to The Medvedkin Group.
Now 83 years of age, Pierre Lhomme’s appearance at Film Society this Thursday is an event you won't want to miss. Cinematography of this caliber on the big screen (and in the case of Army of Shadows, in 35mm) will truly be a sight to behold.