French new wave classics on screen

Jules and Jim is an eternal ode to boundless love.

The Alliance Française Classic Film Festival  is returning for the fourth time to Palace Norton Street for a season of eternal French cinema this month. The festival is also running in Melbourne and Perth later, and this year is paying tribute to the legendary actress Jeanne Moreau, who died aged 89 last year. In Sydney it opens on September 6 with an all-time favourite from 1962, Jules and Jim, director François Truffaut and Moreau’s first of two collaborations, and Moreau’s biggest international success.

Regarded as daring in its time, this was the film which introduced us to that uniquely French concept, the menage a trois. According to The Guardian, Jules and Jim is regarded as the audacious apotheosis of the French New Wave. It won the 1962 Grand Prix, the Étoile de Cristal, and Jeanne Moreau won that year’s prize for best actress. One critic writing in The Nation called it “a work of decadent high romance, a tour de force carrying hints of terror beneath its gay, melancholy and noble surface.” There’s more about this timeless classic here at the festival’s website, where you can make bookings too.

The 2018 season will present six of Jeanne Moreau’s most renowned films from 1958 to 1991. Moving from stage to cinema in the 50s, Moreau achieved national recognition with starring roles in many controversial and landmark films. She performed with many of the leading art-house directors of the time including Roger Vadim, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut and Louis Malle who recognized her as “the prime stage actress of her generation”. Her professionalism and strength of character charmed many directors, including Orson Welles who considered her the “best actress in the world”.

In Joseph Losey’s Eva, Jeanne Moreau plays a “malicious snake”

Actors such as Michel Piccoli, Jean Paul Belmondo, Michel Serrault, Lino Ventura and many more will join Moreau under the spotlight for four memorable days of classic French films. Dates and venues for the 2018 Alliance Française Classic Film Festival  are:

Sydney: 6-9 September at Palace Norton Street and Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne

Perth: 18-21 October at WA Maritime Museum

Melbourne: 8-11 November at The Astor Theatre