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.
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 major French auteur Arnaud Desplechin, whose endlessly surprising, gloriously messy movies encompass all the pathos, romance, comedy, and strangeness of real life. See more and save with a 3+ Film Package or $75 All Access Pass.
Arnaud Desplechin reaches Shakespearean heights with his intimate yet expansive new film, three varied but interlocking episodes in the life of his hero, with the wondrous experience of first love between Paul (Quentin Dolmaire) and Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) at its core. An NYFF53 selection.
Catherine Deneuve stars as the imperious, terminally ill matriarch of a wildly dysfunctional family in Desplechin’s hilarious, heartbreaking, stylistically playful holiday fable. An NYFF46 selection.
One of the most beguiling, profound films ever made about the elusive art of acting, Desplechin’s first English-language work stars Summer Phoenix in a fascinating, almost feral performance as a rebellious child of London’s Jewish slums who becomes a celebrated stage actress in late-19th-century London.
In the late 1940s, at the progressive Menninger Clinic, two mavericks (Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric) bonded, not simply as therapist and patient, but as friends united by their personal experiences as outsiders in Desplechin’s extraordinarily intelligent and moving adaptation of Georges Devereux’s landmark work. An NYFF51 selection.
Q&A with Arnaud Desplechin on 3/17Desplechin risks everything to achieve the sublime in this wild, consistently surprising seriocomedy starring Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos as ex-lovers who once again cross paths just as their lives are falling apart. An NYFF42 selection.
A young medical student discovers a shriveled, severed head in his luggage, plunging him into a Kafka-esque mystery that touches on the lingering legacy of the Cold War. Desplechin’s feature debut is an absorbing, offbeat thriller set in the shadowy world of international espionage. An NYFF30 selection.
Desplechin’s breathlessly inventive international breakthrough pushes the Gallic sex farce to dizzying new heights. Mathieu Amalric (in a César Award–winning performance) stars as a navel-gazing academic who bounces between lovers as he struggles to break things off with his long-term girlfriend (a luminous Emmanuelle Devos). An NYFF34 selection.
In the Company of Men features a young businessman who goes to ruin trying to outmaneuver his arms-manufacturer father. Desplechin did for Edward Bond’s play what Louis Malle did for Uncle Vanya: the dramatic action itself, shot with a hyperactive handheld camera, alternates with footage of the actors auditioning, rehearsing, and gearing up to perform.
Introduction by Arnaud Desplechin on 3/15In the wake of a young man’s suicide attempt, his family (played by several Desplechin regulars, including Emmanuelle Devos) gathers in their house in the country, where complex interrelationships play out against a tense vigil. This rarely screened, Jean Vigo Prize–winning featurette is an incisive, poignant examination of the myriad ways we deal with tragedy.
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