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”).

Thu, Jul 14th at 7:30pm
François Truffaut, 1980, France, 131 min.

Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II. Against all odds – a Jewish theater manager in hiding; a leading man who’s in...

Fri, Jul 15th at 7:30pm
François Truffaut, 1969, France, 123 min.

Beauty is by no means rare on the lush, tropical Isle de Reunion. Yet when island resident and tobacco tycoon Louis Mahe (Jean Paul Belmondo) first meets Julie Rouselle (Catherine Deneuve), his mail-order fiancée, he...

Sat, Jul 16th at 7:30pm
François Truffaut, 1976, France, 104 min.

Filmed in Thiers in South Central France, each vignette of this episodic comedy/drama is seen from the point of view of a kid from two weeks to 14 years old. There is no real plot, just little scenes flowing together...

Sun, Jul 17th at 7:30pm
François Truffaut, 1964, France, 113 min.

While traveling to Lisbon for a lecture, the famous middle-aged publisher and lecturer Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) has a one-night stand with the young Panair do Brasil stewardess Nicole (Françoise Dorleac, who...

Thu, Jul 21st at 7:30pm
Jacques Demy & Agnès Varda, 1967, France, 120 min.

Delphine and Solange, played by real-life siblings Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, are two sisters living in Rochefort and longing for Paris. Delphine is a dancing teacher, and Solange composes and teaches...

Fri, Jul 22nd at 7:30pm
Jacques Demy, 1970, France, 90 min.

Jacques Demy’s ode to the classic fairytale by 17th-century author Charles Perrault (“Cinderella”) comes to life with breathtaking brilliance. Catherine Deneuve stars as a Princess whose father, the King (Jean Marais...

Sat, Jul 23rd at 7:30pm
Jacques Demy, 1964, France, 91 min.

Jacques Demy’s haunting romantic musical is an enchanting, one-of-a-kind experience. With a dazzling candy-colored palette, the film is basically a movie operetta, with the characters singing all the dialogue to...

Sun, Jul 24th at 7:30pm
Claude Chabrol, 1959, France, 112 min.

In “The Cousins” – the first of several films that would win international awards for New Wave director Claude Chabrol – Charles (Gerard Blain) is the cousin from the provinces with “bourgeois” values. His steadfast...

Fri, Jul 29th at 7:30pm
Robert Bresson,1951, France, 115 min.

A new priest (Claude Laydu) arrives in the French country village of Ambricourt to attend to his first parish. The apathetic and hostile rural congregation rejects him immediately. Through his diary entries, the...

Sat, Jul 30th at 7:30pm
Jean-Luc Godard, 1980, France, 87 min.

This 1980 film, which found Jean-Luc Godard returning to cinema after working in video through the ’70s, is a complicated exploration of relations. A work that Godard considers his “second first film,” “Every Man for...

Sun, Jul 31st at 7:30pm
Claude Chabrol, 1988, France, 108 min.

Acclaimed director Claude Chabrol offers this compelling true story of working-class housewife Marie (Isabelle Huppert), who performs illegal abortions in France during World War II, evading the Nazis and betraying...

Mon, Oct 3rd at 7:30pm
Jean-Paul Rappeneau, 1975, France, 103 min.

In this romantic adventure comedy from French writer/director Jean-Paul Rappeneau (“Cyrano de Bergerac,” “The Horseman on the Roof”), Catherine Deneuve stars as Nelly, a young French bride who gets cold feet and...