LE JOLI MAI
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
DIRECTED BY CHRIS MARKER & PIERRE LHOMME
Cinematographer/ co-director Pierre Lhomme will introduce the 7:45 show on Friday and the 4:40 show on Sunday, with Q&As to follow screenings.
(1963) In May 1962, the Evian accords ended the Algerian war, with the head of the OAS, the terrorist group determined to bring down De Gaulle, successfully brought to trial — and France was without war for the first time in decades. Chris Marker and DP and co-director Pierre Lhomme (legendary cinematographer of Melville’s Army of Shadows, Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore, etc. etc.) shot over 55 hours of footage to document this watershed in French life, interviewing the theater seamstress who enjoys dressing up her cats in bizarre costumes; the suit salesman who thinks only of money, which then allows him to buy … more suits!; the lovers of the Moustaffa quarter, reluctant to move from the place they’ve known their whole lives; the mother of eight, ecstatic to move from her single room to a three-bedroom apartment. Ultimately, after scenes of police riots and strikes, the three meatiest interviews come back to back in the second half: a young African student who doesn’t have a single white friend; the ex-priest union activist explaining how he now has no time for spirituality; and an unemployed Algerian worker who says he’ll never return to his native country. France’s greatest screen essayist here keeps Simone Signoret’s English narration at the beginning and end, sticking to some of the greatest examples of cinéma verité in a particular place and time. Approx. 145 min. DCP.
AN ICARUS FILMS RELEASE
Pierre Lhomme’s presence at this program is made possible by Cultural Services of the French Embassy and UniFrance Films.
Pierre Lhomme will also be appearing at Lincoln Center on Thursday, September 12.
See link below for more information.
Special thanks to the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), Florence Almozini, Nathalie Charles, Florence Charmasson, Muriel Guidoni and Delphine Selles-Alvarez.
"Taking to the unglamorized streets of Paris in May 1962, Marker and Lhomme collect a pungent slice of everyday anxiety... AS A TIME CAPSULE, IT'S PEERLESS."
- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Click here to read J. Hoberman's Artinfo article on LE JOLI MAI
"A REALER THAN REAL TIME CAPSULE OF POST-WAR PARIS!"
– Village Voice
“Simultaneously illuminating and funny! The basic method is simple: Marker and his colleagues (unseen) elicit comments on work, money, happiness, etc., from a cross-section of Parisians... firmly and evocatively placed within a wider socio-political context. What distinguishes the film most, however, is its wit, both verbal and visual.”
– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)
“Both a tender portrait of a city and an indictment of a way of life... Le Joli Mai attacks Parisians for their disengagement, for their racism and classism, for their self-obsession in the face of injustice, and for their silence. This distanced critique, however, is balanced with empathy: the film’s harsh conclusions are mitigated by unmistakable affection... This idiosyncratic vérité portrait of 1962, then, can be considered a direct springboard to the militant cinema of 1968. One May contains the seeds of another.”
– Sam Di Iorio, Film Comment
"Captures the spirit of a populace at what was then the first quantifiable period of peacefulness in well over a generation. Marker scans the fluctuations of human behavior with the clarity of a poet."
– Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Click here to read the full review
“Faced with Rouch’s label ‘cinema vérité,’ Marker is credited with promptly rephrasing it as ‘ciné, ma vérité’ (cinema, my truth).”
– Catherine Lupton