CLASSE TOUS RISQUES
THE BIG RISK
1959, Rialto Films, 110 min, France/Italy, Dir: Claude Sautet

Lino Ventura delivers an awesome performance (maybe his best) as Davos, a gangster in the twilight of his career, on the run from the mob with his wife and family. Jean-Paul Belmondo (hot off his star turn in BREATHLESS) co-stars as a young hood who comes to Ventura’s aid. Brilliantly scripted by Jose Giovanni, based on a story he had heard in prison. “In addition to its crisp action sequences, the film has an excellent sense of place, showing us Paris, Nice and the small villages and French countryside between. … One of the things that makes CLASSE TOUS RISQUES distinctive are the palpable emotional connections it makes with its characters. Though he is the hardest of hard cases, Davos cares deeply about his family, and the feelings of regret, sadness and desperation that cross his face are just one of the factors that make this film the classic it is.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times. In French with English subtitles.


DONKEY SKIN
PEAU D’ÂNE
1970, Janus Films, 90 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Jacques Demy's strange, lovely film tells the story of a devoted king (Jean Marais) who promises his dying wife (Catherine Deneuve, a Demy favorite) that his new queen will be equal to her in beauty. Of course, no one can compare to Deneuve, which leaves the queen’s daughter (also played by Deneuve) as the sole contender. Heeding the advice of a bizarre fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig), the princess delays her father's incestuous advances using a series of impossible dressmaking challenges. In French with English subtitles.


THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT
LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT
1967, Janus Films, 120 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Director Jacques Demy's love letter to American musicals, French cityscapes and romance in general is one of his greatest triumphs. The movie tells intersecting stories of a number of young dreamers - among them Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorleac and Danielle Darrieux - who continually miss meeting their ideal mates by mere city blocks - city blocks that are all authentic, as Demy matches realistic location shooting with sheer flights of musical fantasy. This odd but satisfying hybrid of dreams and reality is enhanced by Michel Legrand's score and Demy's typically precise color palette. With Gene Kelly and George Chakiris. In French with English subtitles.


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