To celebrate the release of his latest opus, My Golden Days (opening at the Film Society on March 18, with a special sneak preview during this retrospective), the Film Society revisits the remarkable achievements of Arnaud Desplechin. One of the key French filmmakers of the post–New Wave, Desplechin makes endlessly surprising, gloriously messy movies that burst at the seams with richly realized characters, freewheeling stylistic invention, and wide-ranging allusions to art, literature, and film history. A master choreographer of sprawling ensemble casts, he works regularly with leading lights of the French cinema, including Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve, and Emmanuelle Devos, actors who embody his remarkably complex, human creations. Though they deal with weighty themes—mortality, heartbreak, the traumas of history—Desplechin’s films are rarely heavy, buoyed by streaks of mischievous comedy and the director’s deeply felt humanism. Encompassing all the pathos, romance, comedy, and strangeness of real life, these are films to get lost in.

Organized by Florence Almozini. Special thanks to Arnaud Desplechin.