Saturday, April 15, 2006

Belmondo a la Belcourt

It is a lovely Saturday morning here on April 15, 2006 in Nashville. Birds chirping, blue sky overhead, sun beaming across the lawn. I think this will be a good day for an art opening.

As I stated in my last post, after my brother and sister-in-law and niece returned from mass, we all went to catch the “neo-noir” French gangster flick Classe Tous Risque at the locally historic Belcourt Theatre.

This is a really wonderful theatre indeed. They feature art house type of films as well as live music, theatre and art exhibition. When we entered, we walked into the middle of an artists' reception for a group photography exhibit.

The theatre where we watched the film was very large and opulent. Everything was colored in that robust color of red that works so well in film theatres.

The film itself was a real treat. I happen to be a fan of French and Italian cinema from the 50’s and 60’s and this was a classic example of film from that genre. Some literature on the film describes it as “neo-realism meets film-noir”. I can see how that description can be accurate, but it really felt very existential in nature to me.

Here’s a verbatim description of the film from The Belcourt’s newsletter: “Two tough guys execute a broad daylight payroll heist on the streets of Milan. But, returning to France after holing up in Italy for nearly a decade, one of them realizes there’s a life beyond the milieu”.

That is really a very abbreviated description of the film, but it works. There are some wonderful characters in this film and they are all drenched in that hip, French cinema look and feel from the early 60’s and late 50’s. My favorite is Jean-Paul Belmondo. What an incredible face for film.

I’ve seen several of his films from this period ("À bout de souffle"- english translation "Breathless" was probably his most famous from that time) and he steals the scene every time the camera looks his way, at least in my opinion. Also, if you happen to see this film on a big screen, and it is touring the country now, you will be stunned by the cinematography – glorious shots of Nice, Paris, and the countryside. It made me want to trade my beetle in for a Vespa.

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