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French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York will honor Vera Belmont and her work

Cinema According to Véra Belmont featuring special screenings with Véra Belmont and Jackie Raynal April 6 - April 27, 2010 FIAF · Florence Gould Hall 55 East 59th Street, NYC

This April, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, will celebrate France's "Grande Dame" of cinema for the last 45 years with a new CinémaTuesdays series entitled, Cinema According to Véra Belmont. The series will examine the prolific artist's dual roles as blockbuster producer and director with six special screenings, including a guest presentation by Jackie Raynal of the Oscar-winning journey into prehistory, Quest for Fire, and a visit from Véra Belmont herself, for the New York premiere of her latest film, Surviving with Wolves.

Belmont started out as a TV actress in the 1950s before an encounter with François Truffaut and other key figures of French New Wave cinema led her to produce her first full-length feature in 1964, Les Ruse du Diable. Her acquaintance with Truffaut would soon turn to collaboration, with the two co-producing in 1969 Maurice Pialat's first work, L'Enfance nue, to be shown as part of the FIAF series. The celebration of new talent would soon become a hallmark for Belmont, highlighting her choice to cast non-professionals and support gifted but otherwise unknown artists. With her production company, "Stephan Films", Belmont the producer financed the first full-length movie of André Techiné, Souvenirs d'en France in 1975. She later cast then unknown Stefano Dionisi in the title role of her acclaimed film, Farinelli in 1994, also included in the FIAF series.

                                                                                                                                                          

Belmont successfully transitioned to a new role in 1977, that of director, with her first feature film, Prisonniers de Mao. Rouge Baiser (1985) is Belmont's autobiographical coming-of-age story set in the factious Cold War context of 1950's France, and stars Lambert Wilson and Charlotte Valandrey. The film was Belmont's first commercial success as a director and firmly established her as a force in French cinema-the status all the more impressive because of her sex. Later collaborations saw her working once again with Lambert Wilson, joined on Marquise (1997) by the French film icon, Sophie Marceau. Both films received critical and commercial praise and will be screened as part of the FIAF series.

 

On the genesis of her transition from producer to director, Belmont relates the story of chance and drive: "I was producing a documentary for television about the change [of government in Portugal], it was 1974. We went to Portugal, and the director never arrived. He fell in love, he goes with a girl and we never see him. I'm staying in Portugal with five or six crew people for the documentary. I say, ‘OK, we go, we do it.' That was the first time I directed. It won best documentary in Cannes. It's called Les Oeillets Rouges d'Avril (The Red Carnations in April)."

 

FIAF is honored to welcome both Véra Belmont and independent film icon Jackie Raynal to present two of its series' screenings. On April 13, at 7:30pm, Raynal will introduce the breathtaking Quest for Fire, whose unusual setting of 80,000 B.C. and depiction of primal urgency makes for characters at once intensely alien and strikingly familiar. And on April 27, Belmont herself will conduct a Q&A session following the 7pm presentation and New York Premiere of Surviving with Wolves - based on the true story of a girl who resorts to the most unlikely companions as she strives to avoid the human savagery of Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

Jackie Raynal says of Belmont: "She's the female equivalent of Claude Berry, who passed several months ago and who was a great actor, a talented director of diverse films, and a gifted producer who didn't shy away from commercial films. Belmont knew how to navigate the French film industry and produce blockbusters, working in a man's industry as a woman and succeeding all the same."

 

The series Cinema According to Véra Belmont was curated by Marie Loisier and Jackie Raynal.

Cinema According to Véra Belmont•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

 

Naked Childhood (L'Enfance Nue)

Tuesday, April 6 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm

Maurice Pialat, 1969. Color. 83 min.

Produced by Véra Belmont. With Michel Terrazon, Linda Gutemberg, Raoul Billerey, Pierrette Deplanque

 

One of Belmont's first discoveries as a producer was director Maurice Pialat, who made his debut with this astonishing look at a child whose life is disrupted by relocation to new foster parents. A film as raw as it is honest.

"There is a ferocious cinematographic intelligence behind the conclusive inconclusiveness of L'Enfance nue, its refusal to submit to the pathetic of the fictional, and its incessant oscillation between fiction and documentary." -Film Comment, Jean-Pierre Gorin

Quest for Fire (La Guerre du Feu)

Tuesday, April 13, at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm

Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1981. Color. 100 min.

Produced by Véra Belmont. With Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong

No dialogue

Note: The 7:30pm screening will be introduced by series' co-curator and filmmaker Jackie Raynal who was on-set for this film.

 

Set 80,000 years ago, the Oscar-winning Quest for Fire chronicles the loss of fire by a tribe and their search to reclaim it. Annaud, whose films are never less than beautiful, creates some of his most magical, breathtaking visions here.

"The film is at its most affecting when it demonstrates man's first bursts of ingenuity, and this it does frequently and well." -The New York Times, Janet Maslin.

 

Farinelli

Tuesday, April 20 at 12:30 & 7:30pm

Gérard Corbiau, 1994. Color. 111 min.

Produced by Véra Belmont. With Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein, Jeroen Krabbé

 

Farinelli was the greatest castrato of the 18th century-a distinction that proved to be a gift and curse. Corbiau sumptuously explores the complicated relationships Farinelli maintained with his family and, particularly, the scores of women who loved him.

"Artistry abounds in every aspect of the film."-Los Angeles Times

 

Marquise

Tuesday, April 20 at 4pm

Véra Belmont, 1997. Color. 120 min.

With Sophie Marceau, Bernard Giraudeau, Lambert Wilson, Patrick Timsit

 

With Marquise, Belmont vibrantly recreates 17th-century France to tell the story of the young woman who romanced Racine and performed with Molière. In the title role, Sophie Marceau is entirely winning.

 

Red Kiss (Rouge Baiser)

Tuesday, April 27, at 12:30 & 4pm

Véra Belmont, 1985. Color. 112 min.

With Charlotte Valandrey, Lambert Wilson, Marthe Keller, Laurent Terzieff

 

A deeply personal film for Belmont, Red Kiss sets a coming-of-age tale against the unrest of 1952 Paris. Nadia (Valandrey) is beaten bloody at a Communist rally and discovered by photographer Stéphane (Wilson). As the two become lovers, she begins to become alienated from her ideology.

 

Meet the Director & New York Premiere

Véra Belmont presents Surviving with Wolves (Survivre avec les loups)

Tuesday, April 27 at 7pm

Véra Belmont, 2007. Color. 118 min.

With Mathilde Goffart, Yaël Abecassis, Guy Bedos, Michèle Bernier

Note: Véra Belmont comes to FIAF to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A moderated by series' co-curator and filmmaker Jackie Raynal after the screening.

 

An adaptation of Misha Defonseca's controversial novel Misha about a young girl's journey through Nazi Europe. Alone and in search of her deported parents, she wanders from city to city, stealing food and clothing to stay alive.

 

 

Cinema According to Véra Belmont Image List

 

Farinelli (c) Photofest

http://www.fiaf.org/press/2010-03/VeraBelmont/Farinelli(c)Photofest.jpg

 

Marquise (c) Véra Belmont

http://www.fiaf.org/press/2010-03/VeraBelmont/Marquise(c)VeraBelmont.jpg

 

Naked Childhood (c) Tamasa

http://www.fiaf.org/press/2010-03/VeraBelmont/NakedChildhood(c)Tamasa.jpg

 

Surviving with Wolves (c) Wild Bunch

http://www.fiaf.org/press/2010-03/VeraBelmont/SurvivingWithWolves(c)WildBunch.jpg

 

The Quest For Fire (c) Photofest

http://www.fiaf.org/press/2010-03/VeraBelmont/TheQuestForFire(c)Photofest.jpg

 

About FIAF

FIAF, a not-for-profit organization created in 1898 by American Francophiles, is one of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the United States, widely known as the home of New York's foremost French language school, the leading all-French library in the country, and New York's only performing arts center dedicated to French and Francophone culture. FIAF is dedicated to encouraging interaction and better understanding between French-speaking and American communities by creating programs in the arts and education that promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture.

 

CinémaTuesdays is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Special thanks to Unifrance NY, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Véra Belmont, Stephan Films, and Jackie Raynal.

 

LISTING SUMMARY

What:

CinémaTuesdays: Cinema According to Véra Belmont

When:

Times and titles detailed above.

Where:

FIAF - Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street
(between Park and Madison Avenues)

Admission:

$10; $7 students; Free for FIAF Members

Tickets:

fiaf.org | 212 307 4100

Information:

fiaf.org | 212 355 6160

Transportation:

Subway - 4, 5, 6, N, R and W to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue;

 

F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Avenue

 

Bus - M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street

 

###

 

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