Cinema, "le 7ème Art", is one of the arts for which France is best known. Since the first short films by the Méliès brothers came to light, the French film landscape has developed into an internationally respected art form. Here at the French Cultural Center, we have been offering a monthly Ciné-Club for many years, presenting mainly a selection of contemporary works with a discussion of the films after the screenings. But on May 5th, we launched our very first Ciné-Rétro so that our audience could discover or re-discover French classics. We were fortunate to add to the experience with brand new chairs, a popcorn machine, and a choice of beverages (for both kids and adults).

We opened Ciné-Rétro with the series of movies featuring Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez, which are part of the French patrimony. Although the critics were never fond of these movies, they were massive public successes and broke many box office records, due to the unique performance by Louis de Funès. His energy, mimics, and deeply expressive faces made generations laugh for over 39 years and 6 films.

We could only find copies without English subtitles but were happy to welcome enthusiastic viewers who had a great time, due to the slapstick nature of many scenes that did not need any translation. Some in the audience were discovering the series for the first time while others came with their children to introduce them to the films that made them laugh years ago as kids. We did not go into a deep analysis of what was seen, but learned more about the actors’ careers (did you know that de Funès started as a jazz pianist?), the sometimes tedious process of screenwriting when movie star "politics" are involved, and how the musical theme, "La Marche des Gendarmes" was ordered as a spoof on the "Bridge of the River Kwai" score.

We enjoy sharing old and new films with you in our cinema programming and hope to see you on Wednesday, May 25th for the next Ciné-Club de l'Alliance, featuring the 2015 Franco-Turkish co-production that has earned many prizes and critical acclaim, Mustang!

Barbara Bouquegneau

President and Executive Director

Barbara has worked at the French Cultural Center for more than 20 years. Barbara has represented the Center and Alliance Française of Boston throughout the years and has most recently been appointed board member of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. She is committed to pursuing the extraordinary mission of the French Cultural Center and believes that the Francophone world is worth exploring in all its different cultures.

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