Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90403 Map
Fri, Jun 19, 2015 - Mon, Jun 22, 2015
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Presented by the American Cinematheque and Midcentury Productions, with the support of the French Film & TV Office, French Consulate.

The French coined the term “film noir” (both for the black deeds of its plot lines and its shadow-soaked visuals), but the scope of their contribution to the noir canon has remained stubbornly elusive thanks in part to the ideological insurgency of the Nouvelle Vague.

It is a tale unique in film history: In a land that reveres cinema like no other, France has, hidden in its oeuvre, crime films and dark melodramas that capture the essence of noir with a deadly panache. “The French Had a Name for It” begins the exploration of this largely unknown continent, beginning with rarities featuring some of France’s greatest and best-known stars.

Bardot … Gabin … Signoret … Ventura … all household names in France - yet their films in this series await rediscovery. Bardot comes to the fore here as a cultural symbol, her sex-kitten image literally on trial in Clouzot’s canny THE TRUTH and revealed as a cautionary tale by Claude Autant-Lara in LOVE IS MY PROFESSION. Gabin, entering his late phase, plays opposite Bardot as both a father and a lover - which can only lead to ruin.

In DÉDÉE D'ANVERS, Simone Signoret reveals what would transform her into one of France’s greatest stars. A roundup of French noir’s usual suspects might not include many Italian actors, but Lino Ventura is superb playing tough guys under duress in CLASSE TOUS RISQUES and the bracingly nocturnal UN TEMOIN DANS LA VILLE.

Among a gaggle of great directors, Julien Duvivier emerges here as perhaps the most accomplished in French noir. He is best known for 1937’s PÉPÉ LE MOKO, but DEADLIER THAN THE MALE and CHAIR DE POULE show that his talent for tightening nooses around characters remained undiminished decades later.

Series compiled by Don Malcolm and Gwen Deglise. Program notes by Don Malcolm and John Hagelston.

For more on the series "The French Had A Name For It," visit

Aero TheatreFri, Jun 19, 2015 - Mon, Jun 22, 2015
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Films in this Series at the Aero

Fri, Jun 19, 2015 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Sat, Jun 20, 2015 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Sun, Jun 21, 2015 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Mon, Jun 22, 2015 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre