Some Forgotten Classics (and a Turkey) at Dublin’s IFI Dublin this August.

Dorleac and Deneuve in Rochefort.

Dorleac, Deneuve and Gene Kelly in Rochefort.

The Films Maudits (cursed films) Festival was begun by Jean Cocteau and friends in 1949 to give people the chance to have a look again at a few films they felt had been unfairly overlooked first time around. This August in Dublin, the IFI honours that tradition with its own mini maudits festival.

Last Wednesday they screened François Truffaut’s Le Peau Douce (‘64). After the huge success of his first three films, The 400 Blows (’59), Shoot the Pianist (‘60) and especially the joyous Jules et Jim (‘62) this dour examination of adultery was always going to be a hard sell, and they walked out of its screening at Cannes in their droves.

They were trying to make a morally neutral film about adultery in which the man and the two women were treated equally. Unfortunately, the man is all too believably ordinary, and you’re never really sure what either of the two women see in him.

It is though an all too rare opportunity to see the effervescent and radient Françoise Dorléac. Catherine Deneuve’s elder sister was killed in a car accident at the age of 25 in 1967, soon after they’d both finished filming the insanely overlooked The Young Girls of Rochefort, a sort of 12th Night to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’s Romeo and Juliet. Deneuve said she never really got over it.

Monica Vitt and Alain Delon.

Monica Vitti and Alain Delon.

She, and Nelly Benedetti as the firey wife, make this film worth catching up on.

On Sunday 10th there’s a rare chance to see Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse (‘62). The final part of his Monica Vitti trilogy, it wasn’t actually this film that caused such consternation at Cannes, it was the first part, L’Avventura (’60).

But let’s not split hairs, any chance to see one of cinema’s towering masterpieces should be grabbed with grateful hands. Vitti and Alain Delon framed by Antonioni, scripted by Tonino Guerra and shot by the master DoP Gianni Di Venanzo, who the following year shot 8 ½ (‘63) and then Giulietta Delgi Spiriti (‘65) for Fellini.

Nicholas Ray's "Johnny Guitar".

Nicholas Ray’s “Johnny Guitar”.

After the politically savvy The Manchurian Candidate (’62) and Seven Days In May (‘64) John Frankenheimer made Seconds in ‘66 with Rock Hudson. Reviled at Cannes, it too has been completely reassessed. You can see it on Wed 13th.

Then on Sat 16th there an incredibly rare chance to see Nicholas Ray’s We Can’t Go Home Again. After the magisterial Johnny Guitar (’54) reviewed earlier here and Rebel Without A Cause (’55) – and in a parallel universe somewhere, there’s a version of that film with the actor he’d originally wanted in the lead, one Elvis Presley – Ray ended up teaching film students at Harpur College in New York.

He made this with them during his time there, and continued editing it before heading over to Cannes, where he discovered that the venerable film festival there was built on a far more lucrative porn festival that goes on there literally underground. And so his twilight years were spent ahem “acting”. Which is not something you’ll find on his Wikipedia entry.

Anna Paquin and Matt Damon in "Margaret".

Anna Paquin and Matt Damon in “Margaret”.

On Sun 17th you can see Kenneth Lonergan’s unjustly overlooked Margaret (’11), which I reviewed earlier here. And if you haven’t yet seen his magnificent You Can Count on Me (’00), lucky you. It’s all ahead of you. Here’s Margaret’s trailer. And, going from the sublime to the ridiculous, the mini festival ends with the risible Heaven’s Gate (’80), which I reviewed earlier here.

All the above are happily available of dvd. And, the last named aside, they all deserve a re-visit.

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