A voyage through French cinema hosted by Bertrand Tavernier

Film
Described by director Bertrand Tavernier as “an expression of gratitude to all those filmmakers, screenwriters, actors and musicians who have erupted into my life,” the documentary, A VOYAGE THROUGH FRENCH CINEMA, is manna from heaven to fans of French film. Spanning nearly half a century of the country’s cinematic history, the clips and reminiscences here ...

‘Starring Europe’ top film picks: from France, from Italy

Film
Well, they all look so good, don’t they? The fourth annual European film festival in Los Angeles, Starring Europe: New Films from the EU, kicked off with a swinging red carpet/gala reception in the peerless courtyard of Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre last night. Remarks prior to the opening-night feature, MELLOW MUD, a Latvian film, indicate that ...

Humor, love of life power Claude Lelouch’s ‘Chacun Sa Vie’

Film
I just loved the opening-night feature film of COLCOA, the French film festival in Los Angeles. Everyone’s Life, blessed by a French title, Chacun sa vie had its north American premiere with its master-director, Claude Lelouch, in the house.  It’s a great title — and so apt isn’t it? Because in the end (asserts Lelouch, the ...

Worldly actress Jacqueline Bisset honored at COLCOA

Film
A gorgeous crystal vase and heartfelt congratulations to the British-born actress Jacqueline Bisset, bilingual, bicultural, and in every way a screen stunner. Bisset was honored with the 2017 Prix Alliance Française presented by Christophe Lemoine Consul General of France in Los Angeles on April 27, 2017. The ceremony took place at the annual COLCOA French film ...

Primitive wonderment by Eleanor Swordy at Moskowitz Bayse

Visual arts
I like these vivid oil paintings by French-born artist Eleanor Swordy soon to be showcased at Moskowitz Bayse in Los Angeles. And I admit being intrigued by the show’s title, “Who Died?” Both the title and the imagery on display in this female artist’s work — the geometric shapes, the primary colors, the bulky human ...

Sassy Chahine print enters life of arts·meme

Visual arts
A Sunday visit to the Los Angeles Fine Print Fair — seeking respite from the onslaught of Donald Trump —  to attend a public conversation between gallerist Jack Rutberg and artist Ruth Weisberg, spawned a new relationship! A fateful encounter with a wonderful teensy engraving, reproduced above. That in turn makes me the proud owner ...

Review: Jean Genet’s ‘The Maids’ @ A Noise Within

Reviews · Theater
by 
Jean Genet had a remarkable career – a thief, a jailbird, an internationally celebrated playwright whose work often embodied his compatriot’s Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous line, “Hell is other people.” That was from Sartre’s play “No Exit,” and Genet’s play “The Maids” (1947) depicts a particularly suffocating hell. Two sisters, maids in a bourgeois French household ...

Frolic the Hall of Mirrors with Louis XIV in “Versailles”

Architecture & Design · Dance · Fashion · Film
In the dance world, we know King Louis XIV for his balletomania, which led to the first formal classical ballet, “Le Ballet de la Nuit.” Louis himself danced the lead role, embodying a character modestly called ‘The Sun King.’ (As Mel Brooks sagely noted, it’s good to be king.) A reenactment of the performance appears ...

Armand & Henry & Vincent & friends have a play date

Visual arts
Industrial tycoons Henry Huntington and Armand Hammer, two of Los Angeles’s most significant arts barons, ruled over great collections that form the core of major museums in Los Angeles. (Collectors respectively of the early and mid 20th century, Huntington and Hammer still pale by comparison, in their acquisitive nature, to L.A.’s tycoon-collector of the day, Eli ...

William Friedkin reveals his French Connection

Film
Reverence reigned in the room; it was a stirring evening of movie worship. An enthralled, somewhat dazed, audience emptied onto Wilshire Boulevard only at 11:30 pm, following the 45th anniversary screening of THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) hosted by film critic Stephen Farber for Laemmle’s Anniversary Classics. In a post-screening Q & A, the movie’s director, ...