Category Archives: Past Events

Monthly Film – December

Donkey Skin (Peau d’âne) 1970
by Jacques Demy

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 16th December 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Donkey Skin (Peau d'âne)
Peau d’Âne (English: Donkey Skin) is a 1970 French musical film directed by Jacques Demy. It is also known by the English titles Once Upon a Time and The Magic Donkey. It stars Catherine Deneuve and Jean Marais, with music by Michel Legrand. Donkey Skin also proved to be Demy’s biggest success in France with a total of 2,198,576 admissions. The film was adapted by Demy from Donkeyskin, a French literary fairytale written in verse by Charles Perrault. It was first published in 1695 in a small volume and republished in 1697 in Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé. Andrew Lang included it, somewhat euphemized, in The Grey Fairy Book. It is similar in style to folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 510B, unnatural love.

Synopsis

A king had a beautiful wife and a rich castle, including a marvelous donkey whose droppings were gold. One day his wife died, after making him promise not to marry except to a woman whose beauty and attributes equaled hers. The king grieved, but was, in time, persuaded to seek another wife. It became clear that the only woman who would fit the promise was his own daughter.

She went to her fairy godmother who advised her to make impossible demands as a condition of her consent: a dress the color of the sky, a dress the color of the moon, a dress as bright as the sun, and finally, the hide of his marvelous donkey. Such was the king’s desire to marry her that he granted all of them. The fairy godmother gave her a marvelous chest to contain all she owned and told her that the donkeyskin would make an excellent disguise.
Illustration by Gustave Doré

The princess fled and eventually found a royal farm where they let her work in the kitchen, despite her ugliness in the donkeyskin. On feast days, she would dress herself in the fine gowns her father had given her, and one such day, the prince came by her room and peeped through the keyhole. He fell in love at once, fell ill with his longing, and declared that nothing would cure him but a cake baked by Donkeyskin, and nothing they could say of what a dirty creature she was dissuaded him.

When Donkeyskin baked the cake, a ring of hers fell in it. The prince found it and declared that he would marry only the woman whose finger it fit. Every other woman having failed, he insisted that Donkeyskin try, and it fit. When she had dressed herself in her fine gowns, his parents were reconciled with the match. Donkeyskin later found that her father had remarried to a beautiful widow and everyone lived happily ever after.

Veuf et inconsolable, le roi, qui a promis à sa femme mourante de ne se remarier qu’avec une femme plus belle qu’elle, découvre soudain la beauté radieuse de sa fille et décide de l’épouser. Horrifiée, la jeune fille requiert l’aide de sa marraine, la fée des Lilas. Celle-ci lui conseille de demander à son père d’impossibles présents. Mais chacune de ses exigences est aussitôt satisfaite. Pour finir, drapée dans les robes couleur de Temps, couleur de Lune et couleur de Soleil qu’elle a obtenues de son père, la princesse formule un dernier voeu. Elle exige la peau de l’âne qui, chaque matin, laisse des diamants et des écus dans sa litière. Une fois encore, le roi s’exécute. En désespoir de cause, la princesse s’enfuit, vêtue de sa peau d’âne…

Reviews of the film

Overall, this film, like the other films, has something for everyone – the touchstone of the well-constructed story. Demy’s easy camera and wistful use of Michel Legrand’s compositions belie the wonderful depth of his engagement with his materials. In this series that the film societies have been showing images that clearly owe so much to the French New Wave slip seamlessly past, tied to the music and song that Demy uses to at once engage and alienate us from the action, offering us so many other opportunities for interpretation. This, for me, has been a discovery, at once delicious and at the same time challenging – I love it.
Read more..

~ GREGOR CAMERON, The Lumière Reader

Jacques Demy est un maître doux qui se permet tout. Devenu cinéaste, le petit garçon qui croyait que la vraie vie était dans les contes transforme les contes en réalité. Sa fée des Lilas (« Un mélange de Jean ­Harlow et de Botticelli, un peu poule, un peu fleur », dira Demy) a des peines de coeur faiblement humaines et célèbre l’hymen de sa ­protégée en hélicoptère… Son roi se permet de beaux anachronismes, par exemple en citant des vers de Cocteau. Et Peau d’âne a parfois des allures de créature hippie, chantant à pleins poumons les vertus de la fumette !

Jacques Demy a dû attendre neuf ans pour tourner à Chambord cette féerie psychédélique inspirée du pop art, découvert pendant son exil à Los Angeles, et des marionnettes de chiffon du guignol de son enfance nantaise. Sa patience est récompensée : son film est un véritable enchantement, porté par l’inoubliable musique de Michel Legrand.

En savoir plus sur site

~ Marine Landrot – télérama.fr

Monthly Film – November

Contempt (Le Mépris) 1963
by Jean-Luc Godard

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 18th November 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Contempt (Le Mépris)
Contempt is a 1963 French satirical drama film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard, based on the Italian novel A Ghost at Noon by Alberto Moravia. It stars Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, and Giorgia Moll. Today, Contempt is generally regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema.

Synopsis

American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) hires respected Austrian director Fritz Lang (playing himself) to direct a film adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Dissatisfied with Lang’s treatment of the material as an art film, Prokosch hires Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), a novelist and playwright, to rework the script. The conflict between artistic expression and commercial opportunity parallels Paul’s sudden estrangement from his wife Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot), who becomes aloof with Paul after he leaves her alone with Prokosch, a millionaire playboy.

Scénariste à succès, Paul Javal travaille à une adaptation de «L’Odyssée», qui doit être tournée par Fritz Lang. Il remarque bientôt que Lang est en désaccord avec Prokosch, le producteur américain. Ce dernier voudrait financer un film épique alors que le réalisateur souhaite faire un film psychologique. Camille, la femme de Paul, le rejoint à Cinecittà. Tous deux sont invités chez Prokosch, qui manifeste un vif intérêt pour la jeune femme. Paul la laisse partir avec l’Américain, espérant se faire remarquer par lui. Camille, qui aime son mari, est déçue. Elle refuse de jouer le jeu et change brusquement d’attitude vis-à-vis de Paul…

Reviews of the film

“Contempt” was Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 attempt at a big-budget, big- star production, and more or less satisfied his curiosity. It was not the direction he wanted to move in, and the rest of his career can be seen, in a way, as a reaction to the experience. Not that the film itself is a compromise; you can see the tension between Godard and his backers right there on the screen, and hear it between the lines of the dialogue, in this newly restored print.

As for Godard, he stays, as always, a little aloof. All of his films are, in a way, about filmmaking; he breaks the illusion of the fourth wall in order to communicate directly with the audience, usually in such an enigmatic way that he seems to be satirizing the whole idea of communication. He likes mannered shots that call attention to themselves, and here, faced with the great width of the CinemaScope screen, he has moments when he pans slowly back and forth from one side of the room to the other, using an unbroken take but refusing to place both characters on the screen at the same time.

When wide-screen movies are shown on TV these days, they are often subjected to the annoying “pan and scan” practice, in which the sides are chopped off and then the camera moves back and forth to show two people who were originally meant to be seen at once. I can only imagine how the pan and scan process would look if applied to this movie, in which Godard has built his own panning into the wide-screen compositions. The worst scenario: The movie pans in two directions at once.

“Contempt” is not one of the great Godard films, for reasons it makes clear. In a way, it’s about its own shortcomings. A drama exists at ground level involving the characters, while the film fights between the tendency to elevate them into art (Lang) or vulgarize them into commerce (Palance). It is interesting to see, and has moments of brilliance (the marital argument, the use of the villa steps), but its real importance is as a failed experiment. “Contempt” taught Godard he could not make films like this, and so he included himself out, and went on to make the films he could make.
Read more..

~ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Godard aurait pu baptiser son film « La Nuit américaine », dix ans avant Truffaut. D’abord parce qu’il précède son confrère dans la dissection du cinéma, monde parallèle tenté d’en envahir un autre, jaloux et jalousé : la vie. Et surtout parce qu’il affirme que le coeur des hommes peut s’assombrir en plein soleil, comme on peut filmer la nuit en plein jour. Godard contemple les déclins du cinéma et de l’amour, irrémédiablement liés. Une scène mêle à merveille ces chutes abyssales : Prokosch attire Camille vers une minuscule fenêtre, qui ouvre sur la mer, réduite à quelques centimètres carrés. Inconsciemment, le producteur balourd signe l’arrêt de mort du cinéma, remplacé par la télévi­sion, et celui de l’amour de Camille pour son mari, remplacé par le fourvoiement infidèle.

En savoir plus sur site

~ Marine Landrot – télérama.fr

Monthly Film – October

Artemis, heart of artichoke (Artémis, coeur d’artichaut) 2013
by Hubert Viel

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 21st October 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Artemis, heart of artichoke (Artémis, coeur d'artichaut)
It’s a comedy loosely based on Greek mythology, that imagines the lives of the goddess Artemis in the contemporary world.

Synopsis

The goddess Artemis has distorted the Olympus company and became a young woman who goes to College in Caen in France. First of a misanthropic and solitary nature, because she prefers the company of animals and children than adults, Artemis sees her daily life change when she made the acquaintance of the nymph Kalie Steaux (i.e. Callisto, played by Noémie Rosset), offering him to take with her roommate. Soon, the two young women bind friendship and undertake all kinds of activities and trips. All is told by an omniscient Narrator (Hubert Viel) when sometimes it’s hard to follow the events.

La déesse Artémis a faussé compagnie à l’Olympe et est devenue une jeune femme qui va à la fac à Caen en France. D’abord d’un caractère misanthrope et solitaire, car elle préfère la compagnie des animaux et des enfants à celle des adultes, Artémis voit son quotidien changer lorsqu’elle fait la connaissance de la nymphe Kalie Steaux (autrement dit Callisto), qui lui propose de prendre une colocation avec elle. Très vite, les deux jeunes femmes se lient d’amitié et entreprennent toutes sortes d’activités et de voyages. Le tout est raconté par un narrateur omniscient qui a parfois un peu de mal à suivre les événements.

Reviews of the film

François Truffaut said that a film should express either joy or anguish to the cinema. Joy truffaldienne irrigates every minute of this first film, awarded at the festival of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, arrived at the University of Caen in master 2 of modern literature. At the restaurant Uni, she finds a fiery blonde with a high-pitched voice, named Crystal, who will become her roommate and soon, her best friend. Two girlfriends (delicious Frédérique Barré and Noémie Rosset), as Rohmer heroines more smart, depart while vacationing in the Cotentin camping on the beach and dredge the pizzaiolo. With its ‘omniscient Narrator’ performed by the Director himself, his deadpan voice, his smoky ultra super-8 and its special effects to the Méliès, this mythologico-burlesque Phantasmagoria possesses the charm and the lunacy of youth works. (review translated from French) En savoir plus..

~ Jérémie Couston – Télérama.fr

Dans la mythologie grecque, Artémis est la déesse de la chasse, associée à la Lune. Mais, dans le premier film d’Hubert Viel, c’est une étudiante en lettres à la faculté de Caen, les pieds bien sur terre. Guère liante (pour ne pas dire misanthrope), Artémis sort de sa zone de confort quand elle propose à l’exubérante Kalie Steaux (comme la nymphe Callisto) de partager son appartement.

Les deux colocataires se lient d’amitié, au point de devenir inséparables. Kalie prend conscience de la nature divine d’Artémis qui, arc et flèches en bandoulière, se transforme sous ses yeux ou déclenche la foudre. Pourtant, avec les garçons, la déesse ne s’avère guère chasseresse. Si Kalie, libre et dévergondée, s’offre sans complexe à la gent masculine, la chaste Artémis écarte, quant à elle, tous ses prétendants trop pressants. Au cours d’une soirée, elle jette même un charme à l’un d’entre eux.

C’est l’alliance des contraires qui séduit, avant tout, dans cette audacieuse réinterprétation mythologique. Farouche, Artémis trouve chez la bouillonnante nymphe Kalie son exacte opposée. Ce buddy movie (film de potes), à la…

En savoir plus sur site

~ Sandrine Marques – Le Monde

European Film Festival 2015

A shared international cultural experience that aims to promote a friendly relationship and to increase the mutual understanding between European Nations and Sri Lanka.

For the eighth consecutive year, the European Film Festival is taking place in Sri Lanka. Recently released and highly acclaimed films from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and The United Kingdom will be screened. The European Film Festival will begin in September with a chapter in Jaffna and will also travel this year, out of Colombo, to Baticaloa, Kandy, Matara, Horana.

Expérience culturelle de coopération internationale, l’EFF vise à renforcer les liens d’amitié entre Sri Lanka et l’Europe

Pour la huitième année consécutive, le Festival du Film Européen se tiendra à Sri Lanka à l’automne 2015. Des films récents et ayant connu un fort succès aux Pays-Bas, au Danemark, en France, Allemagne, Italie, Pologne, Roumanie, Slovaquie, Suisse et au Royaume-Uni seront présentés au public. Le Festival du Film Européen débutera à Jaffna puis sera également présenté cette année en dehors de Colombo, à Kandy, Baticaloa, Matara, Horana.

SCHEDULE click here.

Monthly Film – September

Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois) 2013
by Cédric Klapisch

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 23rd September 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois)
Eleven years after his Franglais smash “L’auberge espagnole” and eight years after sequel “Russian Dolls,” French writer-helmer Cedric Klapisch follows up with the zesty “Chinese Puzzle,” a New York-set comedy that serves as a seductive advertisement for modern urban living. Retaining the energy and zing of the earlier films but dialing down the youthful angst, the pic delivers witty, sexy fare that’s the fast-food equivalent of Richard Linklater’s thematically weightier “Before … ” trilogy. Given the presence of international marquee names including Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou, its appeal to auds isn’t tricky to puzzle out.

Synopsis

We find Xavier, now 40 years-old, with Wendy, Isabelle and Martine – 15 years after the l’Auberge Espagnole and 10 years after Poupées Russes. Everything appears so simple but Xavier’s life doesn’t stop taking unexpected detours between Paris and New York. He looks for his way in this crazy mess to find his place as a man as much as his place as a father. And who knows, it may be this very madness of New York that will allow Xavier to resolve, finally, the Chinese puzzle that is his life.

Xavier a maintenant 40 ans. On le retrouve avec Wendy, Isabelle et Martine quinze ans après L’Auberge Espagnole et dix ans après Les Poupées russes.

La vie de Xavier ne s’est pas forcément rangée et tout semble même devenir de plus en plus compliqué. Désormais père de deux enfants, son virus du voyage l’entraîne cette fois à New York, au beau milieu de Chinatown. Dans un joyeux bordel, Xavier u cherche sa place en tant que fils, en tant que père… en tant qu’homme en fait ! Séparation. Famille recomposée. Homoparentalité. Immigration. Travail clandestin. Mondialisation. La vie de Xavier tient résolument du casse-tête chinois ! Cette vie à l’instar de New York et de l’époque actuelle, à défaut d’être cohérente et calme vient en tout cas nourrir sa plume d’écrivain…

Reviews of the film

Bringing an appreciative outsider’s perspective to the sights, sounds and polyglot energy of New York, Klapisch and his collaborators ensure that the two hours whiz by decoratively and entertainingly, buoyed by the jazzy, soulful, vocal-driven score of Christophe Minck and Loik Dury, both returning from “Russian Dolls.” Playful devices, including the fantasy appearances of famous European philosophers imparting words of wisdom, work well in the mix, and there’s a well-executed comic setpiece in which Tautou unleashes her fluent Mandarin to a roomful of Chinese investors.

Modern life may be complicated, but it’s nothing to get stressed about: That’s the alluring message this time around, and the film benefits from the more relaxed mode achieved by these maturing characters. In real life, none of the actors have reached the age (40) that’s suggested by the script, indicating a generosity of spirit on their part that chimes with the film’s contagious mood. Neatly climaxing with a conventionally upbeat romantic-comedy pairing, Klapisch’s freewheeling story now seems to have arrived at its natural conclusion. Read more..

~ Charles Gant, Variety

Douze ans après L’Auberge espagnole et huit ans après Les Poupées russes, revoilà la bande des quatre dans le dernier épisode de la trilogie. Casse-tête chinois se révèle un film vivant comme jamais, bordélique en diable, joyeux et bourré d’énergie. Mais aussi ultra-contemporain et en phase avec une mondialisation qu’on ne connaît que trop. À cela s’ajoutent les questions sur l’homoparentalité, la famille recomposée, l’immigration. Porté par des acteurs tous au top, Casse-tête chinois se révèle irrésistible, va vous donner des ailes et l’envie de tout plaquer pour d’autres continents. Klapisch filme New York avec un cœur gros comme ça. C’est authentique, agité, sentimental, drôle, intelligent. Que demander de plus? Voir plus..

~ D.A. – Le Journal du Dimanche