This Friday, Oct. 12, French Cinema lovers and those hoping to catch a glimpse of two of the most important men in the modern French Film world will head to 212 York Street for the day-long event, “French Cinema and its New Wave Legacy,” organized by the Yale Film Studies Program. Jean-Michel Frodon, editor in chief of French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema will speak in the morning and celebrated director Arnaud Desplechin is scheduled to speak later in the afternoon.
Students are especially excited about Frodon’s visit, considering the place Cahiers du Cinema holds in film history and its impact on modern film culture in France.
“The importance of Cahiers du Cinema on film criticism cannot be denied,” said film studies major Paul Goehrke ’08.
Frodon has been a particularly important editor of the magazine because of his role in putting an English translation of the magazine online, the first instance of such an event in the magazine’s history.
Desplechin’s name reaches further than that of Frodon because not only is it renowned on the French arts scene, but also in colleges across the country, said Professor Dudley Andrew of the Film and Comparative Literature departments, which he anticipates will make Desplechin visit exciting for students and professors alike.
To give students a taste of what is to come on Friday, the Film Studies program is also holding a Wednesday film screening of Desplechin’s “Kings and Queen” at the Whitney Humanities Center — an event which students said they are eager to attend.
“I’m really excited,” said Avinash Chak ’11. “French New Wave film continues to be so influential. I mean, when I saw Truffaut’s ‘400 Coups,’ it totally blew me away.”
Truffaut — one of the founders of Cahiers du Cinema — was the director best known for such films as “Jules et Jim.” The event this Friday will examine the legacy of a cinema that was highly revolutionary in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Andrew said.
“This is an incredible opportunity for everyone interested in cinema and especially French cinema, which has had such a strong effect on cinema this century,” said film studies major Aaron Friedman ’08.
The organizers of this event believe it will open up new channels of debate for film studies students at Yale and help to answer questions that the film world is posing today.
“It will help students understand the relationship between film criticism, filmmaking and ideas all over the world,” Andrew said. “Students will hopefully be able to understand things from a perspective that is at the center of French film, see its relations to the new developments across the world and be able to make up their own minds as to whether or not France still has an influence on an increasingly globalized culture.”
Friday will be Desplechin’s second visit to Yale. In 2005, in addition to screening “Kings and Queen,” he conducted a four-hour exercise with theater studies and film studies students. Desplechin was impressed by the students and the intensity of their questions, Andrew remembers. And Andrew said this Friday’s conference promises to be just as exciting.
“It will be a pretty high-brow event,” Andrew said. “We have integrated it into the graduate course, and the students are reading the literature surrounding it.”
At the same time, Andrew hopes that the event will generate interest outside of the University’s film community. He is hoping that students of different years and knowledge levels will participate, he said, because although the event will be an intense introduction to the New Wave, it will also, more broadly, be a valuable experience for all who attend.
Andrew said he is also enthusiastic about the possibility of forthcoming events.
“There’s going to be a much bigger version of this next year — it’s the 50th anniversary of Andre Balzin’s death,” he said, referring to one of the Desplechin’s illustrious predecessors.
“French Cinema and its New Wave Legacy” is open to all; tickets are not required.