Canapes and CLOCLO made COL*COA cool

Film
No one does it like the French. No one, no way, no how. COL*COA (City of Lights*City of Angels), the annual French film festival in Los Angeles, just wrapped up at the Director’s Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard. The festival, now in its 16th year and masterminded by the incredibly hard-working Francois Truffart, ...

Pierre Étaix’s “Heureux Anniversaire” (1962) screened @ the Academy 1

Film
An exquisite evening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Wednesday night, when two beautifully refurbished films by the comic French filmmaker, Pierre Étaix, 82, got rare American screenings. Étaix, who started as young man in circus and remained faithful to clowns, casting them in cameo roles in his films, was present ...

“Je ne suis pas contente de tout,” says Claude Bessy. 1

Dance · Film
The film I loved most of the four I saw at the Dance Camera West festival in June was Fabrice Herrault’s beautifully constructed documentary about his former ballet instructor, Claude Bessy, Les lignes d’une Vie (Traces of a Life). Herrault, a dance professor at the Juilliard School and a respected private coach, has made one ...

Roland Petit est mort 2

Dance
Choreographer Roland Petit, a giant of contemporary ballet — he more or less pioneered the genre — died this weekend. Petit’s lifelong involvement with ballet, creating 100+ works, gave him two enduring credits: Carmen (1949) and Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, a dramatic ballet set to a Bach passacaglia, with scenario by Jean Cocteau ...

René Blum and his Ballets Russes get another go-round in new book 1

Dance
Blum’s female universe, bountiful & beautiful, en route to New York, 1938 (photo courtesy of the author, click for detail) “In October 1938, the company sailed to the United States with the new Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo under the artistic direction of [Léonide] Massine and [René] Blum, who was billed as founder … for a ...

Bertrand Blier to Gérard Depardieu @ COLCOA: trop gros pour moi

Film
“I always think about Gérard Depardieu when I create a role,” said Bertrand Blier, who since 1974 has made eight films with France’s premier actor. “Even if it’s a woman. Even if it’s an animal. Sometimes there’s a big piece of furniture — it’s Depardieu.” Blier was free associating at the daily afternoon ‘Happy Hour’ ...

Boulez’s masterful “sur Incises” at Disney Hall 2

Music · Reviews
It was a privilege, last night, to watch Pierre Boulez conduct his own work from the late 1990s, “sur Incises,” written for a triplet of threesomes: three harps, three pianos, and three percussion clusters (xylophone, marimba, bells, tympani). A guided journey through a landscape of crystalline sound, the work clung miraculously to the air of ...

La belle Catherine … Deneuve

Film
The film goddess Catherine Deneuve, at 66 larger than life, still impossibly beautiful, and emanating the off-putting mix of power and femininity that characterizes French women (and intimidates me!), received the audience’s full adulation in a personal appearance tonight at LACMA’s Bing Theater. Fittingly, today is International Women’s Day. Et quelle femme! We’d just watched ...

Catherine la Grande: Deneuve in person at LACMA 1

Film
Preparing to see Catherine Deneuve appear in person in conjunction with a screening of “Potiche,” her new film directed by François Ozon, we swung by the museum late Friday night to see Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” . . . a perfect movie. Ian Birnie, film curator responsible for the museum’s Deneuve retrospective, shares his view on ...

L’Enfer: Clouzot’s movie project from hell 1

Film · Visual arts
Film director Henri-Georges Clouzot nearly lost his mind, as well as his career and even his life, obsessing over the Austrian-born multilingual actress Romy Schneider. In 1963, Clouzot, then one of France’s most acclaimed filmmakers, began work on “L’Enfer,” a tale of male jealousy and madness. A blank check from Columbia Pictures burning in his ...