No foolin'! 18 films at Roxie starting 4/1!
"THE OTHER SIDE" COMES ACROSS...
HERE at Midcentury Productions we are overjoyed to announce a new and (mostly) different series that continues our ten-year love affair with the mostly forgotten & criminally overlooked films from France’s “cinema de papa” period (1930-1960).
We previewed “The Other Side of the Lost Continent” with four films in 2019 and had planned for more, but COVID got in the way—and while we have thus far escaped its clutches (knocking on wood even while typing this!), we were infected last year by something else—it was called MIDCENTURY MADNESS (!!).
Now, however, thanks to the superlative and diligent contributions from our stalwart consultant/co-conspirator Phoebe Green, we are ready to go all out with eighteen (18!) films in a series that we’ve cheekily subtitled “PAPA” STRIKES BACK! You can call it that, or you can use its official title: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LOST CONTINENT 2023.)
Thanks to the slow-but-sure rediscovery of “cinema de papa” films in France, our show gathers an astonishing range of titles previously forgotten in their homeland and virtually unseen in America. It covers the 1930's and 1940s (its other subtitle—and you know we love subtitles!—is “Lost/Ultra-Rare French Cinema Gems, 1931-1947”) and those who’ve journeyed with us through the hidden landscapes of French noir will be similarly enchanted by what we have in store for you starting on April 1st. (No fooling!)
Details of the show are shown on the back of our soon-to-be-printed postcard (above), which has all the dates and times for our screenings. The text accompanying our schedule gives you a very brief taste of the astonishing tonal and temporal range in this series—which we’ve connected back to the darker strains of France’s uniquely elastic use of “noir” by reprising two superb post-WWII films that bowled over audiences at THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 3 back in 2016 (those are UN REVENANT, with the one and only Louis Jouvet, and LES JEUX SONT FAITS, Jean-Paul Sartre’s devastating play brilliantly brought to the screen by Jean Delannoy).
We’re handling all-festival passes in the same way here as we did for last November’s FRENCH ‘22—they will go on sale first (as noted above, on Wednesday, February 22). While the Roxie’s base price did go up, they did give us a discount, so that our pass price still provides a nice bargain ($5.50 per film). A limited number of single-event seats (corresponding to our six double features and two triple features) will go on sale in March.
We’re also grateful to the Roxie for working us into their ever-expanding efforts in a time slot just ahead of the San Francisco International Film Festival, which will save many of our loyal supporters from having to make any wrenching decisions about what to see!
Phoebe and I will be supplying previews of the entire series here at Substack that will begin in tandem with the activation of pass sales.
WE hope you will note and save these dates in preparation for a series that takes us even further into the lost world of the “cinema de papa,” a cauldron of cross-pollination between still-active past masters of silent cinema (Marcel L’Herbier, René Clair), lost auteurs (Louis Valray), masterful emigrés en route to Hollywood (Max Ophuls, Anatole Litvak, Fedor Ozep), and criminally overlooked innovators (Albert Valentin). And then there are the unsung masters of the “cinema de papa” as well (Henri Decoin, Maurice Tourneur, Christian-Jaque, Marc Allegret, and Jean Delannoy). Who knew that this so-called “age of dross” was actually a director’s paradise?
It’s a ferocious, frenetic feast of French savoir-faire—if we do say so ourselves! We look forward to seeing you in April…
We’d be remiss in not saluting MoMA for being the first to screen the bracing, sensual, long-lost work of Louis Valray, whose films will open our series on April 1st.