LÉON MORIN, PRIEST
1961, Rialto Pictures, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

In a French Alps village during WWII, widowed mother Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) walks into a confessional, but not as a believer; a communist and atheist, she is more concerned about the welfare of her daughter during the occupation. The priest she speaks to, Léon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo, wonderfully cast against type), proves exceptionally insightful, and as they begin to have philosophical conversations outside of church, she feels a growing attraction to the young man. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Henri Decaë, this is among the most thoughtful examinations of faith and its challenges ever made.


SKYLAB
Le Skylab
2011, Film Distribution, 114 min, Dir: Julie Delpy

Writer-director Julie Delpy drew from childhood memories to create an affectionate ensemble comedy about a family reunion in the summer of 1979. Seen through the eyes of precocious 11-year-old Albertine (Lou Alvarez), traveling with her left-wing parents (Eric Elmosnino and Delpy) to attend her grandmother’s birthday party in Brittany, this nostalgic tale strikes a knowing balance between childhood pleasures and fear that the sky – or in this case, Skylab – is falling.


HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR
1959, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, France, Japan, Dir: Alain Resnais

A one-night stand between a young French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) brings back the memory of Riva's first impossible love in wartime France, her intense pain at the death of her German lover, and her punishment for sexual collaboration with the enemy. Brilliantly written by Marguerite Duras, director Alain Resnais’ first feature remains a high point in French cinema of the 1950s, and one of the most devastating love stories ever put on film. "Once you've seen HIROSHIMA it becomes impossible to make movies the way you used to." – Francois Truffaut. In French and Japanese with English subtitles.


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