Saturday, December 15, 2007

FRENCH CINEMA—Jean Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After


If the French New Wave has a face, it might be the beaky, piercing-eyed visage of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Léaud made his debut in 1959 at age 15 as Antoine Doinel, the hero of Francois Truffaut's Les Quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows). It is the first film in the upcoming Pacific Film Archives series "Jean Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After", to be shown January 18, introduced by Laura Truffaut, daughter of Francois.

Léaud went on to portray Doinel in Truffaut's Antoine and Colette, Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses), Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board) and L'Amour en fuite (Love on the Run), and to appear in the director's Les Deux anglaises et le continent (Two English Girls), and La Nuit américaine (Day For Night). The PFA series also includes memorable Léaud performances in Godard's Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis (Masculine Feminine), Week End, and La Chinoise; in an iconic role in Jean Eustache's La Maman et la putain (The Mother and the Whore); as a detective in Out 1: Spectre, directed by Jacques Rivette; as a tuxedoed duex ex machina in Aki Kaurismaki's La Vie de Bohème; and as an irascible film director in Olivier Assayas's Irma Vep. The PFA series will run January 18, 22, 23, 25, 31, February 8, 14, 15, 17 and 29.

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