THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR CLAUDE SAUTET: THE THNGS OF LIFE, AUGUST 1-9
SAUTET’S MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS WILL OPEN THEATRICALLY IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING ON AUGUST 10, IN A NEW 35MM RESTORATION
NEW YORK, NY (Friday, July 13, 2012) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today the lineup for Claude Sautet: The Things of Life, August 1-9. The showcase will present Sautet’s films, which have been rarely screened since they were last seen in art-house theaters in the 1970’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s. At the conclusion of the series Claude Sautet’s masterpiece, MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS, will enjoy its U.S theatrical premiere with a one week run beginning August 10th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, in a new 35mm restoration from Rialto Pictures, who in 2005 reissued Sautet’s CLASSE TOUS RISQUES to widespread acclaim.
“Claude Sautet was a master of la vie quotidienne, whether that happened to be the lives of petty criminals or of his favorite subject, the haute bourgeoisie,” said the Film Society’s Associate Program Director Scott Foundas, who programmed the series. “With an unshowy style and keenly observed detail, he captured the ways people sit in cafés, browse in bookshops, talk around the dinner table. Above all, he peered deeply into the mysteries of attraction, creating a rich body of unconventional, unpredictable, vividly human love stories.”
Hailed as a master filmmaker by Jean-Pierre Melville, Francois Truffaut and Pauline Kael, Claude Sautet ranked among the most popular French directors of his generation at home and abroad, though today his body of work has inexplicably slipped into anonymity. The 13-film lineup – complete save for Sautet’s disavowed debut feature BONJOUR SOURIRE – includes a new digital restoration of the 1965 thriller THE DICTATOR’S GUNS starring Lino Ventura and featuring new English subtitles; the Venice Film Festival award winner A HEART IN WINTER, a brilliantly acted relationship drama set against the world of classical music; the Oscar-nominated A SIMPLE STORY, featuring a stunning performance by longtime Sautet muse Romy Schneider; and his international breakthrough THE THINGS OF LIFE, remade in the U.S. decades later as the Richard Gere – Sharon Stone INTERSECTION.
The series also includes an intimate look at the filmmaker himself in the documentary, CLAUDE SAUTET OR THE INVISIBLE MAGIC, culled hours of audio interviews in which Sautet discussed his body of work in extraordinary and candid detail, plus additional interviews with friends, collaborators and admirers like actor Jean-Pierre Marielle, director Bertrand Tavernier and Sautet’s widow Graziella.
Born in 1924, Sautet began his career as a social worker and music critic before studying film at the famed Paris film school IDHEC and entering the industry as an assistant director. A contemporary of the French New Wave without being part of it, Sautet developed a reputation as a successful “script doctor” who lent his expertise to many popular commercial entertainments (including Georges Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE and Jacques Deray’s massive hit BORSALINO) before embarking on his own directorial career. Celebrated for his collaborations with some of the greatest French stars of the era, including Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli, and the luminous Schneider, he experienced a late-career renaissance in the ‘90s with a trilogy of romantic dramas made using a new generation of leading men and women (including Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart and Sandrine Bonnaire).
All films are screened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, north side/upper level (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.) Exception: MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS will screen immediately following the showcase at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam).
Tickets are now available at the box office and at Filmlinc.com. $13 general public, $9 students and seniors, $8 members. A special double feature package is also available for the Claude Sautet: The Things of Life series for $20 general public, $15 members/students/seniors. For additional information, visit Filmlinc.com.
Acknowledgments: Artedis/Chantal Lam, British Film Institute/Fleur Buckley, Cinémathèque de Toulouse/Christophe Gautier, Cinémathèque Française/Emilie Cauquy, Cinémathèque Québécoise/Karine Boulanger and Fabrice Montal, The Festival Agency/Leslie Vuchot, Institut Lumière/Maelle Arnaud, Jean-Louis Livi, Les Productions Bagheera/Sophie Goldman, N.T. Binh, Rialto Pictures/Eric Di Bernardo, Bruce Goldstein and Adrienne Halpern, Royal Belgian Film Archive/Clementine De Blieck, SND/Pieter Geusens and Ellen Schafer, Tamasa Distribution/Laurence Berbon, UCLA Film and Television Archive/Todd Wiener, Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Institut Français/Muriel Guidoni and Delphine Selles-Alvarez
Funding for this series was made possible with the generous support of the Grand Marnier Foundation.
PRESS SCREENING SCHEDULE
Monday, July 23
10AM – 11:29AM
THE THINGS OF LIFE, (89 min)
Please RSVP to John Wildman, firstname.lastname@example.org to attend the press screening and requests screeners. Additional information will be sent shortly regarding an upcoming press screening of MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS.
ONLINE PRESS OFFICE:
The Film Society’s online press office can be found at www.FilmLinc.com/press
FILMS, SCHEDULE & DESCRIPTION
THE BAD SON/UN MAUVAIS FILS
Claude Sautet, 1980, France, 35mm; 110m
Another career-spanning Sautet theme–the fraught relationships between adult children and their parents–comes to the fore in this heartbreaking, beautifully acted family drama. In one of the great, nervous, end-of-his-tether performances that typified his tragically brief career, the extraordinary Patrick Dewaere (Serie Noire) stars as Bruno, a young man returning to Paris after serving a five-year prison sentence (on drug charges) in America. Now clean and determined to rebuild his life, Bruno takes up residence with his widower father (superbly played by actor-director Yves Robert), who may secretly blame Bruno for causing his mother’s death, and begins drifting through a series of menial jobs. One of those, a position as a bookshop clerk, brings him into contact with the beautiful Catherine (Brigitte Fossey), a fellow recovering addict who soon becomes his lover. The only one of Sautet’s films to be steeped in the working-class milieu of his own childhood, The Bad Son paints an indelible portrait of ordinary people, somewhat beaten down by fate, struggling against the Sisyphean rigors of everyday life.
CÉSAR AND ROSALIE/CÉSAR ET ROSALIE
Claude Sautet, 1972, France/Italy/West Germany, 35mm; 107m
The divorced Rosalie (Romy Schneider) is attending a family wedding with her new lover, the wealthy scrap metal merchant César (Yves Montand), when she encounters her ex-boyfriend David (Sami Frey), a cartoonist newly back from America. At the reception, David tells César that he still loves Rosalie, and César can see that the feeling isn’t entirely one-sided. Thus begins Sautet’s magnificent ménage-à-trois César and Rosalie, in which these two very different men compete for the fickle affections of their impulsive lady love, only to slowly form their own grudging friendship. Montand is simply extraordinary as the cigar-chomping César, a self-made man accustomed to getting his way and using money to make himself and others happy. And Schneider, in the third of her five Sautet collaborations, was never more enigmatically beautiful. The tone of the film is melodrama perched on the brink of farce, a tightrope Sautet navigates with astonishing ease. The obvious comparison is to Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, though as the decades pass, César and Rosalie may seem the even greater achievement. Look fast for the teenage Isabelle Huppert, in one of her first screen appearances, as Schneider’s precocious younger sister.
*AUG 3, 4
CLASSE TOUS RISQUES
Claude Sautet, 1960, France/Italy, 35mm; 110m
Sautet’s true first feature (after the disavowed job-for-hire Bonjour Sourire) stars Lino Ventura as a fugitive gangster returning to the Parisian underworld after a decade on the lam, with help from Mob errand boy Jean-Paul Belmondo (in his first post-Breathless role).
CLAUDE SAUTET OR THE INVISIBLE MAGIC/CLAUDE SAUTET OU LA MAGIE INVISIBLE
N.T. Binh, 2003, France/Germany, 35mm; 85m
Mere months before Sautet’s death from cancer in July 2000, Positif film critic N.T. Binh and his collaborator Dominique Rabourdin conducted hours of audio interviews with the dying director, in which he discussed his body of work in extraordinary and candid detail. These conversations were then illustrated with film clips and combined with additional interviews with Sautet’s friends, collaborators and admirers to form this insightful, richly textured portrait. Featuring actor Jean-Pierre Marielle (A Few Days with Me), director Bertrand Tavernier, screenwriters José Giovanni, Jacques Fieschi and Jean-Loup Dabadie, as well as Sautet’s widow Graziella, the aptly-titled Claude Sautet or the Invisible Magic opens an invaluable window into the life and work of a great–and too easily overlooked–French filmmaker.
NEW DIGITAL RESTORATION AND SUBTITLES!
THE DICTATOR’S GUNS/L'ARME À GAUCHE
Claude Sautet, 1965, France/Italy/Spain, DCP; 103m
It’s one of the ironies of Sautet’s career that, before making the très français relationship dramas that cemented his international reputation, he started out as a specialist of très americain genre movies as sleek and well-crafted as anything Hollywood turned out during the same period. For The Dictator’s Guns, Sautet re-teamed with his Classe tous risques star Lino Ventura for a taut tale of high seas intrigue, with Ventura as an expat skipper lying low in the Dominican Republic who becomes ensnared (with some help from seductive American heiress Sylva Koscina) in a plot to transport a boatload of illegal weapons to South America. Excitingly shot on Andalusian locales doubling for the DR, with an international cast speaking a free-flowing mixture of English, French and Spanish (four decades before Inglourious Basterds), the film runs thick with savory B-movie atmosphere, much of it courtesy of Riot in Cell Block 11 heavy Leo Gordon (in real life, a former San Quentin inmate) as the mercenary-for-hire who lures Ventura into his trap. A flop on its initial release, amidst the headline-grabbing innovation of the French New Wave, The Dictator’s Guns qualifies as a major rediscovery, presented here in a new digital restoration with new English subtitles by the incomparable Lenny Borger
*AUG 3, 4
A FEW DAYS WITH ME/QUELQUES JOURS AVEC MOI
Claude Sautet, 1988, France, 35mm; 131m
Dispirited by the critical and commercial failure of Garçon!, Sautet flirted with retirement before the enterprising young producer lured him back with a simple proposition: to make a film with actors, screenplay collaborators and technicians he had never worked with before. The result, A Few Days with Me, would prove the beginning of a late-career renaissance for the director. In a dexterous comic performance that recalls the future collaborations of Mathieu Amalric and director Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queen, A Christmas Tale), Daniel Auteuil stars as Martial Pasquier, the eccentric scion of a prominent supermarket-owning family. Newly released from a psychiatric hospital when the film begins, Martial is dispatched to the sleepy provincial town of Limoges to perform a routine check-up on one of the family stores. It’s not long, however, before he flummoxes the local riff-raff and petit bourgeoisie alike by taking up with Francine, the semi-literate housemaid (Sandrine Bonnaire) of the fussbudget store manager (the marvelous Jean-Pierre Marielle). Chocked full of delightful secondary characters, including Francine’s lovable lug of a boyfriend (Vincent Lindon) and Martial’s exasperated, drama queen mother (the legendary Danielle Darrieux), this splendid riff on the Pygmalion story turns on a dime from gentle class satire to full-blown farce, culminating in a psychedelic dinner party from hell worthy of Jacques Tati. Sautet himself would come to rank A Few Days… alongside César and Rosalie and Max et les ferrailleurs as his personal favorites among his own films.
Claude Sautet, 1983, France, 35mm; 102m
Given the number of scenes in his movies that take place in cafés, bars and restaurants, it was probably only a matter of time before Sautet got around to setting an entire film in and around a dining establishment. In the last of his three collaborations with the director, Yves Montand stars as Alex, a former tap dancer turned head waiter of a popular Paris bistro–a simple man who dreams of someday opening a small amusement park by the sea. When his hands aren’t full of hot plates, Alex is no less busy juggling the various women in his life, including a young dancer (Dominique Laffin) who’s just left him for another man, and an older married woman (Rosy Varte) he sees on the sly. Then one day the beautiful English teacher Claire (the lovely Nicole Garcia) blows into his life and, for the first time in a long time, Alex may actually be in love. A critical and commercial disappointment upon its release in France, Garçon! holds up as a modest but highly enjoyable comedy of love when you least expect it and coming of age at middle age, beautifully filmed by Sautet (whose camera nimbly tracks and pans around the crowded restaurant, capturing all of the frenetic action) and with terrific support from Jacques Villeret and Bernard Fresson as fellow members of the wait and kitchen staff.
A HEART IN WINTER/UN COEUR EN HIVER
Claude Sautet, 1992, France, 35mm; 105m
During the making of A Few Days with Me, Sautet and leading man Daniel Auteuil happened upon Mikhail Lermontov’s 1839 novella Princess Mary, about a Russian Army officer’s calculating pursuit of a woman for whom he harbors no genuine feelings. For the magnificent A Heart in Winter, Sautet devised a loose modern interpretation of Lermontov’s tale, casting Auteuil in the role of Stéphane, a gifted violin maker and repairman who lives a quiet, solitary existence devoted to his work and seemingly immune to the stirrings of the heart. But something seems to shift in Stéphane when he meets Camille (Emmanuelle Béart), a Ravel-playing violin virtuoso who happens to be the new mistress of Stéphane’s longtime business partner, Maxime (André Dussollier). Gradually, Stéphane emerges as an unexpected rival for Camille’s affections, but are his feelings genuine, or is Camille merely a pawn in a game of one-upmanship between these two old friends? In his penultimate and most mysteriously beautiful film, Sautet offers no simple explanations for the things men do in the name of love and jealousy, offering instead an impeccably observed, brilliantly acted study of human behavior in which scarcely a false note is struck. (Béart spent a year learning to play violin in preparation for her role.) Winner of five prizes at the 1992 Venice Film Festival, including the Silver Lion for Best Director. Print courtesy of the Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
*AUG 5, 9
Claude Sautet, 1976, France/Italy/West Germany, 35mm; 135m
“People sell themselves in different ways,” observes the wise title character in yet another of Sautet’s masterfully triangulated romantic dramas—this one set against a backdrop of recession economics and corporate malfeasance that feels uncannily au courant. Indeed, everyone and everything has a price in Mado: the debt-addled land developer Simon (Michel Piccoli); the oily Lépidon (Julien Guiomar), who specializes in bankrupting his competitors and buying up their assets at fire-sale prices; and the prostitute Mado (Ottavia Piccolo), who travels freely between the worlds of the haves and the have-nots, noticing ever less difference between the two. When his business partner commits suicide after becoming Lépidon’s latest victim, Simon vows revenge at any cost, and Mado suggests she may know just the way—with a little help from one of her other clients. The jealous Simon reluctantly agrees, and what follows recalls Polanski’s Chinatown in its intricate knotting of money, sex, politics and collateral victims. With strong support from Jacques Dutronc (as Piccoli’s accountant) and a haunting Romy Schneider (as the dead man’s widow), Mado finds Sautet at the peak of his powers for infiltrating the private lives of the haute bourgeoisie.
U.S. THEATRICAL PREMIERE! NEW 35MM PRINT!
MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS
Claude Sautet, 1971, France, 35mm; 112m
Never before released in U.S. theaters, Claude Sautet’s elegant and sophisticated crime drama stars the great Michel Piccoli as a Paris detective who poses as a wealthy banker to lure a petty crook and his gang into committing a bank robbery…so that he can then catch them red-handed. But there’s one thing the detective doesn’t plan for: falling in love with his intended victim’s beautiful moll (Romy Schneider). The restoration was supervised by Sautet, a few months prior to his death in 2000, and the incomparable Lenny Borger completed new subtitles for the film. A Rialto Pictures release.
*Opens August 10th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Check Filmlinc.com for a schedule.
NELLY AND MONSIEUR ARNAUD/NELLY ET MONSIEUR ARNAUD
Claude Sautet, 1995, France/Italy/Germany, 35mm; 106m
After A Few Days with Me and A Heart in WInter, Sautet concluded his loose trilogy on unrequited love and the male gaze with this career-capping triumph that once again features Emmanuelle Béart as the beautiful object of an emotionally withdrawn man’s curiously expressed affections. Nelly (Béart) is a freelance literary editor struggling to make ends meet for her and her unemployed husband (Charles Berling) in the recession economy of the early 1990s. Through a friend, she meets the septuagenarian businessman Pierre Arnaud (the great Michel Serrault), who offers to pay off her debts if she will serve as his amanuensis for the writing of his memoirs. At first suspicious of the old man’s motives, Nelly eventually agrees, and over the course of their long afternoon sessions together they form a bond that is at once more than mere friendship and less than physical intimacy. Majestically acted by Serrault and Béart and meticulously observed down to the smallest of details, Sautet’s profoundly moving final feature finds the director at the very height of his creative powers.
*AUG 5, 9
A SIMPLE STORY/UNE HISTOIRE SIMPLE
Claude Sautet, 1978, France/West Germany, 35mm; 107m
Romy Schneider gives a stunning performance as a middle-aged divorcée who decides to leave her lover (Claude Brasseur) and return to her husband (Bruno Cremer) in this Oscar-nominated Sautet classic.
*AUG 4, 9
THE THINGS OF LIFE/LES CHOSES DE LA VIE
Claude Sautet, 1970, France/Italy/Switzerland, 35mm; 89m
Wounded by the box-office failure of L’arme à gauche, Sautet turned his back on cinema for five years before making a spectacular comeback with this stylish romantic melodrama that cemented his international reputation and marked the start of a fruitful creative partnership with the screenwriter Jean-Loup Dabadie (Max et les ferrailleurs, César and Rosalie, Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others) and the actors Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider. Based on a novel by Paul Guimard, the film begins with the aftermath of a violent car crash along a rural motorway. As the man, Pierre (Piccoli), lies in a semi-conscious stupor amidst the burning wreckage of his MG, his life flashes before his eyes—specifically, his complex entanglement with two very different women: his dutiful, long-suffering wife (Léa Massari) and his adoring, free-spirited mistress (Schneider). One scene follows another in fragmented, free-associative fashion, periodically interrupted by images of the accident itself, ingeniously filmed by Sautet with an army of slo-mo cameras in a manner that recalls the climax of Bonnie and Clyde. Poorly remade in the U.S. as Intersection with Richard Gere and Sharon Stone, accept no substitute for this masterful portrait of a man literally and figuratively caught at life’s crossroads.
*AUG 1, 7
VINCENT, FRANÇOIS, PAUL AND THE OTHERS/VINCENT, FRANÇOIS, PAUL… ET LES AUTRES
Claude Sautet, 1974, France/Italy, 35mm; 118m
Sautet recruited three of the leading French stars of their generation—Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli and Serge Reggiani—for this wise, beautifully acted, enormously moving portrait of a trio of lifelong friends at the crossroads of middle age, based on a novel by Claude Néron (Max et les ferrailleurs). Vincent (Montand) is an industrialist with an estranged wife (Stéphane Audran) and a heavily mortgaged business on the verge of bankruptcy. François (Piccoli) is a doctor whose youthful ideals long ago gave way to financial motivations. And Paul (Reggiani) is an author with a serious case of writer’s block. All three men try to vicariously relive their youth through Vincent’s protégé (Gérard Depardieu), an aspiring professional boxer. With his signature understatement and precise powers of observation, Sautet weaves us through these men’s lives as myriad crises erupt, concessions are made, and time marches on. A massive hit in France and an obvious template for the likes of The Big Chill and Guillaume Canet’s Little White Lies, Vincent, François, Paul and the Others ranks among Sautet’s finest contemplations of the human condition.
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER:
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
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