Friday, August 25, 2017

Paris Stripped Bare September 8-10 at the Quad

Leave your romantic notions of Paris behind with seven films that expose the city's seedy underbelly—from Polanski's Bitter Moon to Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris—in anticipation of Nathan Silver's Thirst Street

Throughout movie history, Paris has been one of the most lovingly photographed, most idealized cities, every charming café and tree-lined boulevard full of romantic possibility. But for a handful of non-French filmmakers peering in, the City of Lights represents something much darker and more sinister. Inspired by Nathan Silver’s new psycho-sexual black comedy Thirst Street (opening at the Quad September 20), this series surveys Parisian portraits by directors from Italy, America, and Poland, movies that warp the city’s glorified clichés and expose the seedy underbelly festering beneath those cobblestone streets.

La Balance
Bob Swaim, 1982, France, 103m, 35mm
That’s French for “informer” and (initially) refers to crook Philippe Léotard (of Pialat’s La Gueule ouverte fame), who’s forced to help the cops nail heist artist Maurice Ronet. Rest assured, the ensuing sting operation doesn’t go smoothly in this gritty thriller that won Césars for Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Actress for Nathalie Baye as Léotard’s hooker girlfriend.

Bitter Moon
Roman Polanski, 1992, France, 139m, 35mm
During a sea cruise Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas are drawn to alluring sexpot Emmanuelle Seigner and her sardonic paraplegic husband Peter Coyote, who recounts the story of their warped sado-masochistic relationship and orchestrates a highly-charged game of onboard sexual intrigue. Polanski is at his most playful and perverse in this artfully misleading erotic drama.

James Toback, 1983, U.S., 100m, 35mm
Nastassja Kinski goes from Midwestern student to top New York model to lover of violinist Rudolf Nureyev, who pulls her into a plot with a Parisian terrorist cell led by Harvey Keitel. With the collaboration of legendary French cinematographer Henri Decaë and composer Georges Delerue, Toback presents Paris as world of inescapable menace and intrigue.

Roman Polanski, 1988, U.S./France, 120m, 35mm
Nearly a decade after The Tenant, Polanski returned to the streets of Paris for this suspense thriller. When his wife suddenly goes missing, American doctor Harrison Ford is met with Kafkaesque bureaucracy and teams with fetching courier Emmanuelle Seigner to journey down the rabbit hole of Paris’ demimonde.

Last Tango in Paris
Bernardo Bertolucci, 1973, 129m, U.S., 35mm
There’s plenty of sex to go around in this erotic psychodrama from Bertolucci——and plenty of humiliation, despair, not to mention a stick of butter. A widowed Marlon Brando meets Maria Schneider at an apartment viewing and the two begin an affair immediately, agreeing that all personal information is off-limits. But the rules are broken and the relationship spirals from idyllic to violent.

Quiet Days in Clichy
Jens Jorgen Thorsen, 1970, Denmark, 100m, 35mm
The second screen adaptation of Henry Miller’s novel follows the sexcapades of two wannabe writers as they lure an impressive variety of conquests back to the ramshackle apartment they share. “There's lots of women, and the studs waste no time getting them on the bed, in the bath, on the floor, anytime, anywhere, anyhow” (Chris Petit, Time Out).

The Tenant
Roman Polanski, 1976, France, 126m, 35mm
Polanski stars in this nightmare of his own making as a Polish-born file clerk who takes over a grim apartment after the previous inhabitant commits suicide. It’s not long before he himself is driven to madness by the passive aggressive (and just plain aggressive) psychological torture of his neighbors, until eventually he assumes the dead woman’s identity. Co-starring Isabelle Adjani.

Thirst Street
Nathan Silver, U.S./France, 84m, DCP
When a newly widowed American flight attendant (Lindsay Burdge) makes a pit stop in Paris, a one night stand with seedy bartender (Damien Bonnard, Staying Vertical) becomes utter infatuation, leading her deeper into a lusty spiral of frayed nerves and neon hues. Narrated by Anjelica Huston, with widescreen lensing by Sean Price Williams (Good Time) and a visual palette equally inspired by ’70s European art films and ’80s cinéma du look, Thirst Street is an acerbic pleasure from one of modern independent cinema’s most prolific and prodigious talents. A Samuel Goldwyn release. In English and French with English subtitles. Official selection: Tribeca Film Festival.

Exclusive NY engagement

Opens Wed September 20

“Delightfully twisted… wickedly crafty… a terrific, vintage homage.” —The Playlist

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