Third Annual Classic French Film Festival

Jul 14th to Jul 31st

Co-presented by Cinema St. Louis and Webster University Film Series

When: July 14-17, 21-24, and 28-31
Where: Winifred Moore Auditorium, Webster University’s Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.
How much: $10; $8 for students with valid and current photo ID, Cinema St. Louis members with valid membership cards, and Alliance Française members; free for Webster U. students with valid and current photo ID
More info:CSL main line 314-289-4150

Cinema St. Louis, the presenter of the annual Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), celebrates the city’s Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy with its Third Annual Classic French Film Festival. This year, we’re delighted to collaborate with a new co-presenter, the Webster University Film Series.

In its first two editions, the fest featured a mix of the new and the old, but in 2011 we’ve opted to feature classic works exclusively. An extensive selection of the country’s vibrant contemporary cinema will screen as part of the French Film Sidebar at SLIFF, held from Nov. 10-20, but we’ve refocused (and renamed with the prefatory “Classic”) our annual event to pay tribute to France’s significant cinematic history.

In coming years, the Classic French Film Festival will not only range widely through the past – from the silents of Gance and Feyder through the glories of Renoir, Ophuls, and Cocteau to the bracing discoveries of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers – but also illuminate the present by featuring early works from the French directors and stars who continue to add to the country’s filmic legacy.

This year’s fest – which appropriately begins on Bastille Day – offers an intertwined tribute to a trio of French-cinema icons: Catherine Deneuve, Jacques Demy, and François Truffaut.

The still-luminous Deneuve – recently seen in François Ozon’s “Potiche” – is featured in a half-dozen films, including a comedic rarity (Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Call Me Savage”), a trio of key works by Demy (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “The Young Girls of Rochefort,” and “Donkey Skin”), and a pair by Truffaut (“Mississippi Mermaid” and “The Last Metro”). Truffaut is further spotlighted with two recent reissues: the too-seldom-screened “Soft Skin” and the kid-film classic “Small Change.”

The festival also honors the prolific Claude Chabrol, a New Wave colleague of Truffaut’s who died last year. Chabrol is represented by “The Cousins,” a characteristic work from early in his career, and “Story of Women,” perhaps the high watermark of his middle period.

Finally, the festival presents recently restored prints from two highly influential masters of French film: Robert Bresson (“Diary of a Country Priest”) and Jean-Luc Godard (“Every Man for Himself”).