April In Paris 2023.

The 24th Annual April in Paris French and Francophone Film Festival presents

“Private Lives: Vies Intimes dans le Cinéma Francophone”

Bienvenue! This spring April in Paris and Cinestudio go beyond the face we show to the world, to explore all aspects of our private lives. The eight films, covering 1927 to the present, open our eyes to the ways that the inimitable art of cinema deepens our understanding of personal ethics, sexuality, creative expression, aging, and of course, love. Please join us for a discussion after each screening. – Festival Director, Karen Humphreys

Fans of the masterful accompaniment of pianist Patrick Miller of the Hartt School – mark your calendars! Miller’s music is an essential part of experiencing this classic silent film, based on the historical figure of Casanova. Created largely by Russians emigrees, it is not only the story of a man obsessed by his sexual conquests, but a study of what makes someone into a prisoner of their own desires. Please join us for the Festival’s Opening Reception following the film, sponsored by the Alliance Française of Hartford. There will be one 15 minute intermission.

The highly anticipated debut film of Aurélien Froment, best known as Le Monde cartoonist Aurel, is an animated tribute to the legendary cartoonist Josep Bartoli. Fleeing Spain during the fight against Franco and fascism, Bartoli is placed in a French internment camp, where he expresses his private memories of the past not through speaking, but through his powerful drawings. His larger-than-life adventures see Bartoli escaping to Mexico, where he becomes the confidant and lover of painter Frieda Kahlo. Although meeting with painters including Jackson Pollack and Theodore Rothko, Bartoli (and the film) never forgets the pain of war, and the struggle for freedom. “Josep’s animation is not born from movement but from its mystery.” – José Amador Pérez Andújarˆ, El Antepenúltimo Mohican, Spain. Discussion leader, Karen Humphreys, Language and Culture Studies, Trinity College

This influential New Wave gangster classic is a cool-headed tribute to American film noir. When Casey (Delon) escapes from prison in Marseille, he learns how to pull off a high-stakes jewelry theft in Paris. At first alone in his quest, Fate brings together two other partners: Volonte as a fellow prisoner, and Montand as a nightclub owner. While the diamonds may be within reach, they must still battle the police and the vengeance of the mob. Though their conversations are few and options limited, the three friends find satisfaction in following their code of honor to the end. “I will never forget the emotional depths of Alain [Delon]’s blue eyes. One could see not only his exterior but his interior, his emotions and his past . . .” director John Woo.

When a 15-year-old girl is pregnant but is not ready to become a mother, is it a matter for herself, her mother, her religion or the state to decide when and if she can terminate her pregnancy? This not-unfamiliar question plays out in outskirts of N’Djamena in Chad, with Maria and her compassionate mother Amina believing it should be a private matter. Although Amina has been shunned for her own earlier transgressions, she looks to the women in her village to find support. “Shines a light on Chad’s strict patriarchal laws, but also the powerful connections women form to help each other survive” – Marya E. Gates, RogerEbert.com. Join us for a discussion after the film with Doyle Calhoun, Language and Culture Studies, Trinity College.

“It suits them to think I’m a slut,” says gifted literature student Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei, in a star-making performance) of the puritanical bourgeoise girls in her Angoulême college dorm. In 1963, Anne finds little help from other students or doctors on helping her end a pregnancy that would crush her dream of surpassing her working class background. Disturbing, (mostly) beautiful to look at, and above all real, this film is based on the memoir of Annie Ernaud a Nobel Prize winner in Literature. “Diwan shows you a woman who, in choosing to live her life, risks becoming a criminal and dares to be free.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times. Discussion following the film with Blase Provitola, Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Language and Culture Studies, Trinity College.

First, we’d like to say “merci mille fois” to Professor Emeritus Sonia Lee. The Founding Director of April in Paris, her strong support for African francophone film inspires us to expand our definition of French cinema. Tunisian writer/director Leyla Bouzid’s film explores the contrasting experiences of two Arab students at the Sorbonne. Farah (Zbeida Belhajamor) is a free-spirited Tunisian, determined to take every bit of pleasure from her Parisian adventure before returning home. However Ahmed (Sami Outabali), born in France of Algerian background, finds it equally hard to deny his desire for Farah than to ignore his family’s strict version of Islam. “It’s an edifying and introspective film about embracing our most carnal impulses without shame.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter. Stay for a discussion after the film led by Karen Humphreys, Language and Culture Studies, Trinity College.

Hartford premiere of a delightfully provocative satire. Writer/director Bruno Dumont’s new film finds both comedy and drama in the tension between our private and public lives. France stars Léa Seydoux, whose films include No Time to Die, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Blue is the Warmest Color, which won her the Best Actress Palme d’Or at Cannes. She perfectly inhabits her role as a celebrity tv journalist, who “lives for her fans.” But after causing an accident she goes silent, trying to find the suppressed reality of her true self. “Amid the film’s riotous satire…Dumont plants a melancholy identity crisis: the television star and the nation are equally isolated in the distorting mirrors of their own fabricated images.” – Richard Brody, the New Yorker. Discussion following the film with Sara Kippur, Language and Culture Studies, Trinity College

Celebrate April in Paris and join our final night reception at 7 pm, followed by the 8 pm screening of a brilliant and haunting Canadian film shot in Quebec’s awe-inspiring Montmorency Forest. Based on the novel by Jocelyne Saucier, it opens in the aftermath of a destructive wildfire, which sent three elderly men off the grid as near-hermits. But change is inevitable, as Ted (one of the three) dies, and the private life of the survivors is transformed by the arrival of two women. The first (played by acclaimed actor Andrée Lachapelle in her final role) is a fugitive who has spent her life confined in a psychiatric hospital. The other is a young photographer looking for Ted’s hidden paintings of the wildfire. But the recluses’ deep connection with nature isn’t threatened by death, love, or aging, but by the ongoing human damage to the Earth. “Without politics or judgment, the film asks us to cherish life in all its simple pleasures and wonders.” – Pat Mullen, Toronto International Film Festival review.

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