ST. LOUIS - The 13th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — presented by TV5MONDE, sponsored by the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, and produced by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s extraordinary cinematic legacy, offering a revealing overview of French cinema.
The Robert Classic French Film Festival is the first CSL in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic. The host venues — Washington University on Aug. 13-15 and Webster University on Aug. 20-22 and 27-29 — have not yet determined whether capacity limits or masks will be required. Details will be announced on the CSL website when available.
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The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features a quintet of such works: Melvin Van Peebles’ “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” Diane Kurys’ “Entre Nous,” Joseph Losey’s “Mr. Klein,” Jacques Deray’s “La piscine,” and the extended director’s cut of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s “Betty Blue.”
The fest also provides one of the few opportunities available in St. Louis to see films projected the old-school, time-honored way, with Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” screening from a 35mm print.
As part of CSL’s year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries, the fest includes a pair of films from 1971: François Truffaut’s “Two English Girls” and Claude Jutra’s French-Canadian “Mon oncle Antoine.”
Completing the fest is a pandemic-delayed tribute to the late Anna Karina, who died in December 2019: Jean-Luc Godard’s essential “Vivre sa vie.”
Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics.
All films are in French with English subtitles (“The Story of a Three-Day Pass” is in both English & French).
TV5MONDE serves as the fest’s presenting sponsor, and the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor.
13th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival
Aug. 13-15: Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium, Forsyth Boulevard (two blocks west of Skinker Boulevard)
Aug. 20-22 and 27-29: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.
Tickets/Passes: Tickets are $14 for general admission; $11 for students and Cinema St. Louis members. Two types of passes are available: Five-Film Passes are $60, $45 for CSL members; All-Access Passes are $100, $80 for CSL members. Passes and advance tickets can be purchased through the Cinema St. Louis website.
More Info: 314-289-4150, cinemastlouis.org
For film synopses, see the CSL website
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 13, WASHINGTON U.
Mon oncle Antoine
Claude Jutra, Canada, 1971, 104 min., color, DCP
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Lionel Cuillé, teaching professor in French and director of the cultural center French ConneXions at Washington University.
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 14, WASHINGTON U.
Entre Nous/Coup de foudre
Diane Kurys, France, 1983, 110 min., color, new restoration, DCP
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Colin Burnett, associate professor of Film & Media Studies at Washington U. and author of “The Invention of Robert Bresson: The Auteur and His Market.”
7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 15, WASHINGTON U.
Joseph Losey, France, 1976, 123 min., color, new restoration, DCP
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pier Marton, video artist, self-described “Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media,” and former instructor at several leading U.S. universities.
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 20, WEBSTER U.
The Story of a Three-Day Pass/La permission
Melvin van Peebles, France/U.S., 1967, B&W, 86 min., English & French, new restoration, MP4 file
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Diane Carson, professor emerita of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic for KDHX (88.1 FM).
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 21, WEBSTER U.
Vagabond/Sans toit ni loi
Agnès Varda, France, 1985, 105 min., color, 35mm print
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Kathy Corley, documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of film at Webster University.
6:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 22, WEBSTER U.
Jean-Jacques Beineix, France, 1986, 185 min., color, new restoration of extended director’s cut, Blu-ray
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens and the Gateway Cinephile film blog.
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 27, WEBSTER U.
Vivre sa vie/Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux
Jean-Luc Godard, 1962, 83 min., B&W, Blu-ray
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pete Timmermann, director of the Webster U. Film Series and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster U.
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 28, WEBSTER U.
Jacques Deray, 1969, France, 122 min., color, new restoration, Blu-ray
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Calvin Wilson, theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who also writes on film, dance, and music.
7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 29, WEBSTER U.
Two English Girls/Les deux Anglaises et le continent
François Truffaut, 1971, France, 130 min., color, Blu-ray
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, board member of the French-preservation nonprofit Les Amis, and former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog.