Patrice Chéreau: The Love That Dares

Films include the restored director’s cut of QUEEN MARGOT with Isabelle Adjani, THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID with Charlotte Rampling and GABRIELLE with Isabelle Huppert

New York, NY (February 5, 2014) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today Patrice Chéreau: The Love That Dares (February 28-March 5), a nine-film series celebrating the prolific post-New Wave and award-winning filmmaker whose body of work spanned over 30 years and was noted for his progressive social ideals and unique visual sensibility. The series will also serve as a lead-in to FSLC’s popular Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series (March 6-16), the details for which were just announced on Monday.

Chéreau, who passed away last October at the age of 67, was a genuine Renaissance man who, beyond his extraordinarily diverse filmography, also made a significant mark on the stage, directing daring, revisionist adaptations of Marivaux, Racine and Labiche. His visionary opera productions included the first complete three-act staging of Alan Berg’s Lulu, a shattering take on Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, and the legendary Bayreuth re-interpretation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Among the films included in this special salute are rarely seen early works like Chéreau’s pulpy debut thriller, THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID (1975), starring Charlotte Rampling as a fugitive keeping a step ahead of murderous gangsters and THE WOUNDED MAN (1983), a volatile tale about a teenager obsessed with an older, violent man that pre-dates Alain Guiraudie’s similarly themed A STRANGER BY THE LAKE by three decades. The Academy Award-nominated QUEEN MARGOT (1994), a sweeping period drama that gave Isabelle Adjani one of her finest roles and won Chéreau the Jury Prize at Cannes and Virna Lisi a Cannes Best Actress Award, will screen in a restored director’s cut that had its premiere in the Cannes Classics section last year.

Other titles include THOSE WHO LOVE ME CAN TAKE THE TRAIN (1998), an emotionally wrenching group portrait of a late painter’s friends and family as they converge on his funeral; GABRIELLE (2005), a formally daring Joseph Conrad adaptation about the devastatingly emotional disintegration of a marriage starring Isabelle Huppert; and INTIMACY (2001), his first and only English-language film with Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox. A drama of obsessive lust notorious for its unsimulated sex scenes, the film was a subject of controversy upon its release.

“Patrice Chéreau’s passing was an enormous loss to the worlds of film, theater, and opera,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Programming. “What unites the films in this series—and aligns them with his great works in other mediums—is his interest in the irrational side of human motivation and his fascination with the transforming effects of passion.”

Tickets and a discount package for the series will go on sale Thursday, February 6. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Discount packages start at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more. Visit for more information.


THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID (La Chair de l’orchidée) (1975) 110 min
After nearly a decade of groundbreaking theater work, Chéreau made his film directing debut with this grim, visually stunning gangster movie-cum-fairy tale. A beautiful young woman (Charlotte Rampling), imprisoned by her aunt in a castle-like asylum, flees for the open road, only to wind up in the company of another fugitive: a horse-rearing outsider (Bruno Cremer) on the run from two murderous gangsters. Anchored by Rampling’s strong performance and magnificent, rain-drenched cinematography from the legendary Pierre Lhomme—plus a knockout cameo by Simone Signoret—THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID is an underseen genre gem, not to mention a testament to Chéreau’s enormous range: a year after directing this pulpy thriller, he premiered his now-legendary Bayrouth staging of the Ring cycle.
March 1 at 7:00PM
March 4 at 9:00PM

GABRIELLE (2005) 90 min
Chéreau’s bold, theatrically stylized adaptation of Conrad’s short story “The Return” begins as a lavish turn-of-the-century period piece, with a dinner party thrown by a wealthy bourgeois couple (Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert) who appear to be a model of stability and propriety. When Huppert suddenly announces her intent to leave the marriage, GABRIELLE takes an abrupt turn into more painful territory. The film becomes a wrenching confrontation during which layer after layer of psychological armor is dismantled and tossed aside; in the end, all that’s left is a man and a woman, with their two radically opposing visions of love and happiness. Chéreau, his actors, and his wonderful cinematographer Eric Gautier take their material to dizzying heights and terrifying depths, eventually arriving at a level of emotional grandeur worthy of Strindberg or Bergman.
March 2 at 3:20PM

INTIMACY (2001) 119 min
Chéreau’s first and only English-language film, adapted from the work of author Hanif Kureishi, drew controversy on release for its explicit, unsimulated sex scenes. But INTIMACY, a chamber piece about an isolated, divorced bartender (Mark Rylance) who longs to know more about the nameless woman (Kerry Fox) he meets every Wednesday for bouts of passionate yet emotionless sex, is less an exercise in épater la bourgeoisie shock therapy (like some of the New French Extremity films with which it’s since been lumped) than a sad, tender portrait of emotional and spiritual isolation. Chéreau documents the couple’s increasingly tense, tangled relationship with extreme precision, pushing his two leads to unforgettable performances in the process.
March 5 at 9:00PM

JUDITH THERPAUVE (1978) 125 min
The great Simone Signoret (famed for her roles in pre-New Wave masterpieces like CASQUE D’OR and DIABOLIQUE) stars as an aging veteran of the French resistance who agrees to help protect a struggling left-leaning newspaper from its powerful competitors in Chéreau’s tragic second feature. Miles away from the fantastical, fairy-tale-inflected territory of THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID, JUDITH THERPAUVE is an unsparing social realist fable both contemporary (regional, free-agent presses were dying out at the time in France) and timeless. In Chéreau’s words, it’s the story of “a lone woman who fights with dignity, amid confusion and uncertainty, for what she knows is a lost cause.”
March 2 at 8:30PM
March 5 at 6:30PM

PERSECUTION (2009) 98 min
It was with PERSECUTION, his final film that Chéreau arrived at his most whittled-down vision of self-inflicted loneliness. Daniel (Romain Duris), the disheveled, tormented young Parisian at the film’s center, is adored by his long-suffering lover Sonia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), clung to by his emotionally needy best friend, and stalked by an admirer (Jean-Hugues Anglade) who suddenly professes his love. From its jarring first shot—of Daniel slapping Sonia in public—to its wrenching, Antony-scored final moments, Chéreau’s film is a portrait of a man who persecutes everyone in his orbit—not least himself. “At the end,” Chéreau said in one interview at the time of the film’s release, “you must save him. You must love him.” Who else will?
February 28 at 9:20PM

QUEEN MARGOT (La Reine Margot) (1994) 159 min
Chéreau’s highest-profile film was also his biggest departure: a lavish, blood-spattered, gold-spangled costume drama starring a trio of French superstars (Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, and Vincent Perez). In the heat of the 17th-century Wars of Religion, the ruthless French queen Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi) gives up her daughter Margot (Adjani) in marriage to the prominent Huguenot Henri of Navarre (Auteuil) as a peace offering —while secretly arranging for the mass slaughter of thousands of Protestants. Margot soon falls for a dashing Protestant soldier (Perez); bodice-ripping love scenes, court intrigue, poisonings and beheadings ensue. Chéreau captures it all with gleeful, operatic bravado, setting the movie at a pitch delirious enough to elevate it far beyond traditional period-piece territory. This is a “restored and enriched” version of the film, which debuted last year at Cannes in the festival’s Classics section, though the few changes made by Chéreau have not altered its original running time. A Cohen Media Group Release.
March 2 at 5:20PM

SON FRÈRE (2003) 95 min
Chéreau followed INTIMACY with another stripped-down relationship drama about the shaky, sporadic connection between emotional and physical life. Here, the relationship is between two estranged brothers: one straight, the other gay; one healthy, the other incurably ill. With equal parts compassion and clear-eyed observation, Chéreau documents the pair’s extended string of hospital visits, surgical procedures, seaside retreats and moments of intimacy. A remarkably frank look at illness and death, SON FRÈRE finds Chéreau returning to several of his recurring obsessions: the emotional distance between people, especially those—friends, siblings, lovers—who are allegedly closest to one another, the tension between romantic and familial commitments, and the limitations and frailties of the body.
March 1 at 9:20PM

THOSE WHO LOVE ME CAN TAKE THE TRAIN (Ceux qui m’aiment prendront le train) (1998) 122 min
The title of Chéreau’s devastating 1998 melodrama is adapted from filmmaker François Reichenbach, who insisted on being buried in a small town hundreds of miles from Paris. The film’s large, crisis-torn cast of characters are also taking the train to a funeral—that of the self-described “very minor late-20th-century master” painter Jean-Baptiste Emmerich (Jean-Louis Trintignant). The guests include Jean-Baptiste’s nephew (Charles Berling), trapped in a failing marriage; the painter’s ex-lover François (Pascal Greggory), who fears he’s about to lose his current lover; and a mysterious transgender woman (Vincent Pérez) with a surprising past. Once they arrive at the late man’s estate, their fragile peace quickly crumbles under the weight of old tensions and new revelations. With its panoramic scope and its sympathy for the plight of the excluded and abused—even when they’re pitted against one another—THOSE WHO LOVE ME CAN TAKE THE TRAIN is one of Chéreau’s most empathetic and moving films.
March 4 at 6:30PM

THE WOUNDED MAN (L’Homme blessé) (1983) 109 min
Chéreau came fully into his own with his third feature, the story of a young man (Jean-Hugues Anglade) who falls hard for an older male hustler after a chance encounter in a train-station bathroom. On one level, THE WOUNDED MAN is a pioneering work of queer cinema, evoking—like Alain Guiraudie’s recent STRANGER BY THE LAKE—a closed-off, marginal world in which gay love is closely associated with danger and threat. (The film was released on the cusp of the AIDS epidemic.) On another level, though, it’s simply a powerful reflection on the danger and ecstasy of succumbing to the pangs of first love—or, as Chéreau once put it, “the game of desire.”
February 28 at 7:00PM
March 2 at 1:00PM


All screenings in the Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)

Friday, February 28
7:00PM  THE WOUNDED MAN (109 min)
9:20PM  PERSECUTION (98 min)

Saturday, March 1
7:00PM  FLESH OF THE ORCHID (90 min)
9:20PM  SON FRÈRE (95 min)

Sunday, March 2
1:00PM  THE WOUNDED MAN (109 min)
3:20PM  GABRIELLE (90 min)
5:20PM  QUEEN MARGOT (159 min)
8:30PM  JUDITH THERPAUVE (125 min)

Monday, March 3
No Patrice Chéreau screenings

9:00PM  FLESH OF THE ORCHID (90 min)

Wednesday, March 5
6:30PM  JUDITH THERPAUVE (125 min)
9:00PM  INTIMACY (119 min)

Film Society of Lincoln Center
Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of the moving image. The Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year's most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, LatinBeat, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-vous With French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, The Film Society recognizes an artist's unique achievement in film with the prestigious Chaplin Award. The Film Society's state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year round programs and the New York City film community.

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