THE IMMORTAL STORY
1968, Janus Films, 60 min, France, Dir: Orson Welles

Director Orson Welles’ first color film - and final narrative feature completed in his lifetime - is based on a short story by one of his favorite writers, Isak Dinesen. Welles plays an aging merchant in 19th-century Macao who recruits a man (Norman Eshley) and a woman (Jeanne Moreau) to re-enact a tale about a sailor paid to impregnate a rich man’s wife. Shot for French television (largely around Welles’ home in Madrid), this infrequently screened gem co-stars Fernando Rey and features music by Erik Satie.


THE STRANGE MR. STEVE
L’ETRANGE MONSIEUR STEVE
1957, Gaumont, 90 min, France, Dir: Raymond Bailly

Ever wonder what Jeanne Moreau was up to before she took over the Paris night in ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS? It turns out she was in more than a dozen French noirs, including L’ETRANGE MONSIEUR STEVE - where the action is both criminal and amorous. As the moll of a clever gangster (played by singer Armand Mestral), Moreau seduces a milquetoast bank teller (Philippe Lemaire) only to inexplicably fall in love with him - which, as they say in France, makes things très compliqué! Also on hand to create added menace is Lino Ventura as Mestral’s hulking right-hand man. MONSIEUR STEVE benefits from a witty script by Frédèric Dard, master of the San Antonio series and often called “the Raymond Chandler of France.”


ONE DAY YOU’LL UNDERSTAND
PLUS TARD
2008, Kino Lorber, 90 min, France/Germany/Israel, Dir: Amos Gitaï

In 1987, as the trial of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie unfolds on television, French businessman Victor Bastien (Hippolyte Girardot) finds a distressing “Aryan declaration” authored by his late father among family documents. His mother, Rivka (the legendary Jeanne Moreau), keeps a stubborn silence. As Victor becomes more obsessed with past secrets, he takes his family to the tiny village where Rivka’s parents were forced to hide during the war. A poignant and ultimately optimistic portrait of a family’s confrontation with the wounds of the past and their hopes for a better future.


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