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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