Remembering Louis Malle

Remembering Louis Malle
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First Published: Fri, Feb 19 2010. 01 15 AM IST

Goodbye Children (1987)
Goodbye Children (1987)
Updated: Fri, Feb 19 2010. 03 18 PM IST
Alliance Francaise de Delhi, in partnership with NDTV Lumière, will showcase French director Loius Malle’s films, including some notoriously controversial ones, at a five-day film festival starting Friday.
“Louis Malle represents a very interesting phase in French cinema and when NDTV Lumière approached us, they had a complete synergy in what we were doing. We want to present a good body of cinema from an important era,” says Hema Singh Rance, manager, communications, at Alliance Francaise de Delhi.
Goodbye Children (1987)
Malle won instant recognition for his first solo film as a director, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1958) featuring Jeanne Moreau, who went on to star in Malle’s next film, Les Amants (1959).The film was both condemned and censored in the US for its nude bedroom scenes.
According to Dhruvank Vaidya, business head, NDTV Lumière,“He is one of the most well-known directors of all time (40th in Entertainment Weekly’s list of Top 50 directors of all time) and has made some amazing and path-breaking films. He has made several documentaries on India as well. His film-making sensibility is likely to appeal to Indian audiences.”
A predominant characteristic of Malle’s filmography is variety, arising from the director’s determination never to repeat himself. This is reflected most strongly in Zazie dans le métro (1960), an energetic farce which is in total contrast to his preceding films.
“In a lot of ways he was a director question norms of cinema in his era,” adds Rance.
Malle travelled to India in 1969 and made two documentaries on the poverty he saw in the country, Calcutta and L’Inde Fantome. Malle later moved to the US; his return to France saw him attain the pinnacle of his film-making career with Au revoir les enfants (1987), his autobiographical account which went to receive two Oscar nominations.
The films that will be screened at the festival:
Les Amants (The Lovers) (1959) is a tender yet explicit depiction of a frustrated housewife’s desire for an extra-marital affair. Protagonist Jeanne Tournier, played by Jeanne Moreau, lives with her husband Henri (Alain Cuny) and child in a mansion near Dijon.
Zazie dans le Métro (Zazie In The Metro) (1960) is an energetic comic farce in which a young girl wreaks mayhem when her plan to travel on the Paris underground is thwarted by a strike.
Le Feu Follet (The Fire Within) (1963) is a melancholic yet powerful study of a writer on the brink of killing himself.
Le Souffle au Coeur (Murmur of the Heart) (1971) An affectionate look at adolescence, featuring an incestuous relationship between a young woman and her teenage son.
Au Revoir les Enfants (Goodbye Children) (1987) is an autobiographical and intensely moving account of the war-time school days of Louis Malle himself.
The festival starts on19 February. A film will be screened everyday at 7pm at Alliance Française de Delhi, ML Bhartia Auditorium, 72, Lodi Estate, New Delhi.
varuni.k@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Feb 19 2010. 01 15 AM IST