FILM SOCIETY NY SPOTLIGHT ON JEAN-PIERRE LEAUD
Jean-Pierre Léaud is to the French New Wave what Anna Magnani was to Italian Neorealism and what John Wayne was to American westerns: its spirit, its emblem, its avatar. The actor, who last year received the Cannes Film Festival’s Honorary Palme d’Or in recognition of a career spanning nearly 60 years, first broke through as François Truffaut’s on-screen surrogate Antoine Doinel in 1959’s The 400 Blows, and he won Best Actor at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival for Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin. Since then he has worked with French masters Jacques Rivette, Jean Eustache, Philippe Garrel, Bertrand Bonello, and Olivier Assayas, and such key international filmmakers as Tsai Ming-liang, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Aki Kaurismäki, Raúl Ruiz. On the occasion of the release of Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV (NYFF54)—in which he delivers a magisterial, career-capping performance as the longest-reigning French monarch during his final days—the Film Society NYC is proud to pay tribute to the prolific actor’s irresistible presence and undeniable legacy.
March 29th 2:30pm, April 2nd 2:30pm
THE 400 BLOWS (1959 / 35mm)
When film critic François Truffaut was challenged to put into practice what he’d been preaching, he chose to film the story of a 13-year-old wild child in Paris whose adventures were based on his own adolescence.
April 2nd 4pm, April 5th 1:30pm
ANTOINE & COLETTE + STOLEN KISSES (1970, 35mm)
The second and third chapters in the irrepressible Antoine Doinel’s cinematic life: Truffaut’s doppelganger falls for a music student in Antoine and Colette, and is dishonorably discharged from the army and courts an old girlfriend in Stolen Kisses.
April 2nd 6:30pm, April 6th 2:30pm
BED & BOARD (1970, 35mm)
Truffaut’s alter ego Antoine Doinel further matures in this comedy about marital intimacy and infidelity, with he and Christine adrift in the matrimonial sloop, amid often stormy seas.
April 2nd 8:45pm, April 6th 4:30pm
LOVE ON THE RUN (1979, 35mm)
In the final chapter of Antoine Doinel’s story, Antoine and Christine have separated, and he is seeing a new woman when Colette (Marie-France Pisier) re-enters his life, and encourages him to write a novel.
March 30th 2:30pm, April 5th 7:00pm
THE BIRTH OF LOVE (1993, 35mm)
Introduction by film critic Jean-Michel Frodon on April 5
Two young screen icons of a previous generation—Jean-Pierre Léaud and Lou Castel—turn in vivid performances as men who may be mature in years, but are perhaps more than a little emotionally arrested in Philippe Garrel’s film about the ecology of family life.
April 1st 4:00pm
LA CHINOISE (1967, 35mm)
Jean-Pierre Léaud is one in a small group of French students who passionately debate the impact of Mao’s cultural revolution and what chance terrorism might have in triggering comparable radicalization in the West in Godard’s dazzling lightshow of slogans, posters, and revolutionary images.
March 30th 7:00pm
LA CONCENTRATION (1968, 35mm)
Confined to a room for 72 hours, Jean-Pierre Léaud and ’60s icon Zouzou enact a psychodrama of sexual, psychic, and physical violence in what director Philippe Garrel called an “exorcism in front of the camera.”
April 1st 8:15pm, April 4th 2:00pm
DAY FOR NIGHT (1973, 35mm)
Truffaut’s joyous love letter to the art of cinema is one of the finest films about the magic of moviemaking, and remains especially poignant for the onscreen relationship shared between Truffaut and Léaud.
THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (2016, DCP)
The great Jean-Pierre Léaud delivers a majestic performance as the longest-reigning French king during his final days. Filled with ravishing candlelit images and painstaking details from historical texts, Serra’s elegant, engrossing contemplation on death and its representation is as darkly funny as it is moving.
April 1st 2:00pm, April 6th 8:30pm
LE DEPART (1967, 35mm)
A hairdresser (Jean-Pierre Léaud) becomes obsessed with the idea of driving his boss’s Porsche in an upcoming rally in this breathless romp, teeming with burlesque and poetic expression.
March 31st 4:45pm, April 3rd 6:30pm
DETECTIVE (1985, 35mm)
“I’m a renaissance painter looking for commissions,” said Godard of this project, which began as a gleam in producer Alain Sarde’s eye: Paris, pulp fiction, Claude Brasseur, Nathalie Baye, Johnny Halliday, and an aging Jean-Pierre Léaud (in various disguises).
April 4th 6:30pm, April 5th 4:00pm
A GIRL IS A GUN (1971, 35mm)
Léaud is bandit Billy the Kid in this psychotropic western, which plays like Duel in the Sun directed by a French outsider artist. Screening with: Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes (Jean Eustache, 53m).
March 30th 4:30pm, April 5th 9:00pm
IRMA VEP (1996, 35mm)
Jean-Pierre Léaud plays an unstable, aging New Wave director struggling to update Louis Feuillade’s Les Vampires in Olivier Assayas’s wildly inventive valentine to movies and moviemaking.
April 4th 9:30pm, April 6th 6:30pm
MADE IN U.S.A (1966, 35mm)
Jean-Pierre Léaud is featured as a slapstick tough guy named Donald Siegel in Godard’s harsh goodbye to ex-wife Anna Karina—a looney adaptation of Donald Westlake’s Richard Stark novel The Jugger, reshaped by the details of the Ben Barka affair.
March 29th 4:30pm, April 1st 6:00pm
MASCULIN FEMININ (1966, 35mm)
Parisian youths play at sex and politics in Godard’s freewheeling portrait of “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” starring Léaud as a young, self-styled radical-intellectual.
March 29th 7:00pm, April 3rd 2:30pm
THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE (1973, 35mm)
Jean Eustache’s first international success uses an obsessive, talkative ménage à trois—Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont, and Françoise Lebrun—as the jumping-off point for an intense exploration of sexual politics among liberated yet alienated moderns.
March 31st 7:00pm
OUT 1: SPECTRE (1972, 35mm)
Jacques Rivette’s radical scrambling of his 13-hour magnum opus is both a fascinating companion piece and a singular, sinister, stand-alone masterpiece. The film will include a 10-minute intermission.
March 30th 9:00pm, April 4th 4:30pm
PORCILE (1969, 35mm)
Pasolini intertwines medieval and present-day stories about two young men (Jean-Pierre Léaud and Pierre Clémenti) ritually done in by their respective societies.
March 31st 2:00pm, April 3rd 8:30 PM
TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (1979, 35mm)
Based on a novel by Jules and Jim author Henri-Pierre Roché, Two English Girls plays variations on the earlier film’s ménage à trois: a young writer (Jean-Pierre Léaud) falls in love with two beautiful sisters (Kika Markham and Sylvia Marriott) around the turn of the century.
Program notes by Film Society.