Men of French Cinema" - the BAMcinematek’s survey of some
of the greatest leading men and character actors in French film
history - could easily go on a lot longer than the mere three-and-a-half
weeks in August allotted to it, but we’ll have to make do with
what we get.
Included are the usual suspects: Jean Gabin in Jean Renoir’s
anti-war masterpiece, 1937’s "Grand Illusion" (Aug.
5); Michel Simon as a tramp nudging his way into a bourgeois
couple’s very lifestyle in Renoir’s 1932 "Boudu Saved from
Drowning" (Aug. 6); and Yves Montand and Charles Vanel portraying
the most memorable anti-heroes ever seen on the big screen in
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s epic thriller, 1953’s "The Wages
of Fear." Alain Delon, whose 1960 film "Purple Noon"
will be screened Aug. 13, is pictured.
But it’s those expert actors in underrated films that are the
real raison d’etre for this series. Philippe Noiret - one of
French cinema’s most reliable leading men - plays a father who
cannot fathom why his son turned to murder in Bertrand Tavernier’s
classic debut, 1974’s "The Clockmaker" (Aug. 25). Heartthrob
Gerard Depardieu ravages unhappily married Isabelle Huppert in
Maurice Pialat’s devastating 1980 film, "Loulou" (Aug.
And, closing out a retrospective that begins Aug. 3 with the
immortal Raimu as a cuckold in Marcel Pagnol’s "The Baker’s
Wife" (1938), is Jean Eustache’s remarkably ageless three-hour
1973 character study of a menage a trois from hell, "The
Mother and the Whore," starring Jean-Pierre Leaud at his
best as the man in the middle.
"The Leading Men of French Cinema" plays Aug. 3-27
at BAMcinematek (30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene).
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors. For
a complete film schedule, call (718) 636-4100 or visit the web
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010