(The maestro of the “lost continent” continues to astonish those of us “out there in the dark” with the hidden treasures of French film noir. His “keeper” Anastasia Lin captures his latest discovery—the “Goth Girl” of 1940s French cinema getting her centennial close-up at a “one night stand” on Thursday, July 26 at the Roxie in San Francisco.
This past week has been an exhilarating and deeply moving experience for me as I’ve explored the films of French director Jacques Becker for the first time. For my teacher I have another French writer/filmmaker, Bertrand Tavernier (Coup de Torchon, Life and Nothing But, The Princess of Montpensier), whose 2017 documentary My Journey Through French Cinema has been an absolute gift.
In connection with the terrific Tribute to the films of Jacques Becker being presented at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, we present a gallery of clips, trailers and posters from his movies.
Followed by several fine long essays about his films.
It was the time of glasnost and perestroika, the last chapter of Soviet history. Of over 140 films banned by authorities under the Communists, the 1967 film COMMISSAR, directed by Aleksandr Askoldov, was the last film waiting to be rehabilitated. At the 1987 Moscow Film Festival, in a public confrontation with authorities, filmmakers and delegates from the San Francisco International Film Festival demanded to free the film “from prison” after its 20 years on the shelf. Under pressure the officials relented and the film was finally screened to a standing ovation, hailed as a masterpiece, and went on to worldwide distribution and international acclaim.