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October 15

An Evening with Arnaud Desplechin

Among the most accomplished and intelligent figures of contemporary French Cinema, Arnaud Desplechin visits for a special double feature screening of two of his most acclaimed works. A 1984 graduate of the prestigous IDHEC film school, Desplechin began work as a cinematographer before directing his first feature, La Vie des morts (1991), which won the Jean Vigo Prize at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. He drew international attention with the release of his twenty-something romantic epic My Sex Life…or How I Got into an Argument (1996). He is currently finishing A Christmas Tale, a multi-character family drama which draws on the talents of Desplechin regulars including Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos and Chiara Mastroianni.

This program is co-presented with Cahiers du Cinema, French Cultural Services and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.


Monday October 15 at 7 pm

La Vie des morts

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin, Appearing in Person
With Thibault de Montalembert, Roch Leibovici, Marianne Denicourt
France 1991, 35mm, color, 54 min.
French with English subtitles

After a young man attempts suicide, his extended family gathers to sit vigil and await his recovery. Rather than allowing the somber circumstances to dominate the tone of the film, Desplechin deftly maneuvers the everyday interactions between family members allowing humor and warmth emerge amidst this genuine crisis. Print courtesy of the filmmaker.

Kings and Queen

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin, Appearing in Person
With Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve
France 2004, 35mm, color, 150 min.
French with English subtitles

Elements of absurdist comedy and family melodrama set the tone as Desplechin chronicles the exploits a divorced couple. Ismaël (Amalric) spars with his psychiatrist (Deneuve) after he is committed to a mental hospital. His ex-wife (Nora) struggles with the impending death of her father and her complicated relationship with her own son. Desplechin strikes a fine line between the comic and tragic in one of his most beloved works. Print courtesy of New Yorker Films.

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