Arnaud Desplechin | Retrospective

by twhalliii
November 3, 2008 5:21 AM
2 Comments
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This Wednesday, the IFC Center kicks off the build up to the November 15 release of A Christmas Tale with a complete retrospective of the films of Arnaud Desplechin called Every Minute, Four Ideas: The Films Of Arnaud Desplechin. All of these films are "must-see" material, but three days stand out in particular; On Wednesday and Thursday, November 5-6, the IFC Center is showing Desplechin's 2007 documentary L'Aimee (my thoughts here) with his first featurette, the haunting La Vie Des Morts. These films work as very distinct bookends for A Christmas Tale and, if you plan on seeing Tale, I highly recommend seeing these films first; Roubaix, anyone?

Most importantly, the mother of all "hard to see" Desplechin features, Léo: Playing "In The Company Of Men", plays for one day on Tuesday, November 11; you know that a movie is hard to see when the theater is not even offering a one sentence description! I was able to catch Léo a few years back at the Walter Reade and was deeply moved by it, not so much because of the narrative or filmmaking, but because I truly believe it provides a sort of Rosetta Stone for understanding Desplechin's thematic concerns; adoption, fathers and sons, adult children who want to be "good sons" to their parents, theatricality, the individual who wants to break free from the constraints of his fate. I understand there are two versions of this movie, one in which the "documentary" is 70% of the story, and the one I have seen (and which I assume this screening is) in which the traditional "narrative" portion of the film is 70% of the story. None of these films are available with English subtitles on DVD (in any Region), so in lieu of learning French (I probably should...), this is your best chance to see these works in all of their on-screen glory.

And of course, there are My Sex LIfe (which stands as perhaps my favorite film), the dazzling Kings and Queen, the brilliant Esther Kahn and the heady (ha) La Sentinelle, all of which will be playing over the course of the week. This is a huge opportunity to see these movies and to explore this work in all of its glorious complexity. Dive in and I will see you there. Count on it!

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2 Comments

  • goran | November 4, 2008 2:42 AMReply

    There's a Desplechin retrospective happening at the moment in Melbourne (where none of his films have been released even on DVD). It gave me the opportunity to catch La Sentinelle (which blew me away, despite already high expectations) and Playing in the Company of Men (which blew me away partly because of moderately low expectations). While the latter is possible even less accessible than most Desplechin films, I don't understand its non-reputation. It has stretches as forcefully brilliant as anything Desplechin's done and it's quite moving too. I second your recommendations.

    The only Desplechin film that continues to elude me is La Vie des morts. I'll track down the DVD one of these days..

  • Leo Goldsmith | November 3, 2008 4:02 AMReply

    I am there!