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CHAIR DE POULE
HIGHWAY PICKUP
1963, 107 min, France/Italy, Dir: Julien Duvivier

Legendary director Julien Duvivier (PÉPÉ LE MOKO) was nearing the end of his illustrious career, but he saved one of the best for last in this taut tale of fate, lust and enveloping entrapment. Robert Hossein is a thief on the lam who jumps from frying pan into the fire when he holes up at a highway truck stop and is quickly embroiled in the grasping schemes of a hard-bitten, voluptuous vixen (Catherine Rouvel) who will stop at nothing to get what she wants! Costarring Jean Sorel and Jacques Bertrand, with photography from Léonce-Henri Burel, longtime right-hand man of Robert Bresson. In French with English subtitles.


SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER
TIREZ SUR LE PIANISTE
1960, Janus Films, 92 min, France, Dir: François Truffaut

Director François Truffaut once said that every filmmaker’s first movie is a mad rush of ideas, while every second movie is an exercise in style. This, his own second movie, is both: a stylistic tour de force filled with innovative visual ideas but also a longing, bittersweet character study of uncommon depth and resonance. Charles Aznavour is a washed-up concert pianist unable to return to his former glory due to connections with gangsters and other nefarious types; Marie Dubois is the woman who loves him. A long confession scene is Truffaut’s tribute to Ingrid Bergman’s 10-minute confession in Hitchcock’s UNDER CAPRICORN. Adapted from the great novel Down There by David Goodis (who also wrote DARK PASSAGE). In French with English subtitles.


CONTEMPT
LE MEPRIS
1963, Rialto Pictures, 103 min, Dir: Jean-Luc Godard

The brilliantly vivid color palette is almost as ravishing as Brigitte Bardot in this masterpiece by Jean-Luc Godard. Bardot plays Camille, a woman whose marriage to her screenwriter husband comes to a swift, inevitable end over the course of a day on the Isle of Capri. With a score of aching beauty by Georges Delerue. In French with English subtitles.


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