Aspen Music Fest and Aspen Film celebrate French cinema
August 3, 2018
By Andrew Travers
No celebration of French culture would be complete without a dose of the country’s vaunted cinematic traditions.
As the Aspen Music Festival and School continues its Paris-themed summer season with performances of works by the lukes of Ravel, Fauré and Debussy, Aspen Film is bringing it to the big screen in a series titled “La Cinema, La Musique” running Aug. 6 to 27.
This cleverly curated four-part series showcases some of the greatest French films tied to music, opening with the classic Jacques Demy musical “The Umbrellas of Cherboug.”
For Aspen Music Festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher, the Paris theme was a call for these kinds of collaborations in the tradition of Paris café society.
“It’s always been a culture — the so-called ‘cafe society’ — where all these different kinds of artists work together and know each other,” Fletcher said when the festival announced its theme. “That’s a nice theme for us, because we really care about collaboration.”
For Aspen Film, the series is part of a vastly expanded summer lineup — the organization has traditionally tapered its programming in between its big spring and fall festivals. It’s also an outgrowth of rapidly expanding collaborative series from the nonprofit film society, which also has a series running with the Aspen Art Museum and its Dance, Art & Music (DAM) film series at the Temporary at Willits and one-off events with local groups like Windwalkers. The new initiatives have offered a welcome break from the popcorn fare and superheroes that have taken over local cinemas this summer.
All “La Cinema, La Musique” screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($12 for Music Festival National Council members and Aspen Film members).
Often called the most romantic film ever made, this 1964 classic is about a young couple in love, separated by war but bound by a pregnancy. Directed by Jacques Demy and featuring a 20-year-old Catherine Deneuve, it’s a colorful and hugely influential work without a word of spoken dialogue between the songs written by Michel Legrand. To know this movie is to love it. And see it on the big screen is a joy not to be missed.
High drama, a love triangle and the music of Ravel lead to fireworks in this 1992 title from director Claude Sautet. The film follows the tangled web of relationships between the violin virtuoso Camille, violin craftsman Maxime and his wife, Stephane. Violinist Jean-Jacques Kantorow provides the Ravel interpretations on the soundtrack.
The Temporary at Willits
This is the film that introduced the incomparable Marion Cotillard to the world. The French actress plays the iconic French singer Edith Piaf through her hardscrabble childhood, throught he height of her international fame and her tragic end. Directed by Oliver Dahan, the film won Cotillard the 2007 Oscar for Best Actress.
A provocative tale of creation and desire, this artful 1991 period drama stars Gerard Depardieu as composer Marin Marais and Jean-Pierre Marielle as violist Monsieur de Sainte Colombe in 17th-century France as they navigate a thorny mentor-mentee relationship in the time of Louix XIV.