Film at Lincoln Center announces Rebel Spirit: The Films of Patricia Mazuy, the first American retrospective of the versatile French filmmaker’s work, November 15–17. 

Though little-known to American moviegoers, Patricia Mazuy has earned a reputation and a dedicated following among French audiences and international festival patrons for her bracing, singular directorial vision, developed over three decades across a small but distinguished filmography of narrative features, documentaries, and TV movies, after getting her start as an editor on the films of Agnès Varda. Many of her keen-eyed period dramas, wry examinations of modern workplace dynamics, and lean, brooding chamber pieces of familial angst have screened at Cannes, and her work has earned the admiration of Jacques Rivette. In addition to multiple collaborations with composer John Cale, who scored three of her features, Mazuy has drawn quietly virtuosic performances from the likes of Sandrine Bonnaire, Isabelle Huppert, and Laurent Lafitte, each contributing to a vividly textured portrait of French social life. On the occasion of her fifth feature, Paul Sanchez Is Back! (screened in this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema), Film at Lincoln Center welcomes Mazuy in person for this first American showcase of her work.

Highlights of Rebel Spirit: The Films of Patricia Mazuy include the period drama The King’s Daughters, a starkly realized vision of 17th-century France starring Isabelle Huppert that marks Mazuy’s first collaboration with Cale; the 1970s-set television film Travolta and Me, following a teenage couple as they develop an awkward yet intense romance, preceded by a surprise short; Mazuy’s latest feature Paul Sanchez Is Back!, a gripping, imaginative caper starring Laurent Lafitte; Of Women and Horses, a riveting drama set in the world of competitive dressage starring Bruno Ganz and Marina Hands; and her debut feature, the intimate, vaguely sinister family fable Peaux  de vaches, shot by legendary cinematographer Raoul Coutard.

Organized by Florence Almozini and Madeline Whittle. Presented in collaboration with Unifrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. 

Tickets go on sale Thursday, October 31 and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for Film at Lincoln Center members. Save with the purchase of three tickets or more.


Adeline Monzier, Unifrance and Amelie Garin-Davet, Cultural Services of the French Embassy


All screenings take place at the Francesca Beale Theater (144 W 65th St) unless otherwise noted.

The King’s Daughters / Saint-Cyr
Patricia Mazuy, France/Germany/Belgium, 2000, 119m
French with English subtitles

Isabelle Huppert stars in Mazuy’s first period drama, which premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Mazuy spins a rich social parable from the history of the Maison Royale de Saint Louis, a boarding school for young girls from impoverished noble families, founded by the second wife of Louis XIV. Huppert gives a deft yet intensely felt performance as Madame de Maintenon, who conceives of the school as a high-minded pet project, only to become increasingly entangled in troubling questions around its moral foundations and its social consequences. Mazuy’s vision of late 17th-century France is starkly realized, bringing dusky light and sumptuous textures into close contact with the grime and grit of the pre-industrial age, and featuring a bracing score by John Cale.
Friday, November 15, 8:30pm (Q&A with Patricia Mazuy)
Sunday, November 17, 1:30pm

Of Women and Horses / Sport de filles
Patricia Mazuy, France/Germany, 2011, 35mm, 101m
English, French, and German with English subtitles

Boasting quietly virtuosic performances from Marina Hands and Bruno Ganz, this riveting drama set in the world of competitive dressage illuminates the fraught intersection of gender and class. Angered by an employer’s broken promise, rider and groom Gracieuse (Hands) seeks out a new life at another farm, working alongside Franz (Ganz), an elite trainer whose former glory as a riding champion attracts enough wealthy patrons to keep the ranch in business. Beautifully shot by Caroline Champetier and scored by John Cale, the film is a strong showcase for Mazuy’s sure-handed versatility and Hands’s talent, offering a potent study of a woman driven by fierce private ambition and an enduring passion for her work.
Saturday, November 16, 2:30pm (Q&A with Patricia Mazuy)
Sunday, November 17, 8:45pm

Paul Sanchez Is Back! / Paul Sanchez est revenu!
Patricia Mazuy, France/Belgium, 2018, 110m
French with English subtitles

The police are reticent to believe that the notorious murderer Paul Sanchez is indeed back ten years after he vanished without a trace. Yet adventure-hungry junior-officer Marion (César-winner Zita Hanrot, Fatima) can’t help obsessing over bread crumbs of hearsay, especially once a local reporter (Idir Chender, Occidental) begins receiving mysterious emails supposedly sent by Sanchez himself. Co-starring Elle’s Laurent Lafitte, the long-awaited fifth feature from Patricia Mazuy spins a gripping caper with ample commentary on sensationalistic media narratives that’s also an adrenaline rush of the imagination propelled by a percussive original score from John Cale. A 2019 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema selection. 
Saturday, November 16, 7:30pm (Q&A with Patricia Mazuy)
Sunday, November 17, 4:00pm

Peaux de vaches / Thick Skinned
Patricia Mazuy, France, 1989, 35mm, 90m
French with English subtitles

Patricia Mazuy’s debut feature announced the singular force of her vision with an intimate, uncanny family fable. Ten years after Gerard (Jacques Spiesser) and his brother Roland (Jean-François Stévenin) set fire to their barn in rural France and unwittingly killed a man, Roland has finished serving a prison sentence for the accident and returns to the farm where Gerard lives with his wife (Sandrine Bonnaire) and their young daughter. What ensues is a chamber drama that simmers and roils with vaguely sinister angst, shot with lucid intensity by legendary cinematographer Raoul Coutard, and awarded the Prix George Sadoul at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.
Saturday, November 16, 5:00pm (Q&A with Patricia Mazuy)
Sunday, November 17, 6:30pm

Travolta and Me / Travolta et moi
Patricia Mazuy, France, 1993, 35mm, 68m
French with English subtitles

Made as part of “All the Boys and Girls of Their Age—a critically acclaimed anthology series conceived around decade-specific rock-and-roll soundtracks that marked a moment of renewal in French cinema and helped launch a new generation of directors including Olivier Assayas and Claire Denis—Mazuy’s television film centers on Christine, a high schooler in late 1970s France who is enamored of John Travolta. When Christine is randomly picked up and seduced by Nicolas, a brooding teenager fascinated by Friedrich Nietzsche, they immediately face obstacles to their relationship, but nevertheless develop an awkward yet intense romance. Working with cinematographer Eric Gautier, a master at filming teenage angst, Patricia Mazuy adopts a deceptively simple visual approach to match the straightforwardly linear story of Christine’s evolution, depicting the throes of adolescence without judgment. 
Friday, November 15, 6:00pm*
Preceded by a surprise short film
*Free and open to the public!