How Do You Say ‘Masterpiece’ in French? Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse in Restored 35mm CinemaScope!

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Northwest Chicago Film Society will not be screening films at the Portage Theater. The rest of this season’s screenings have been moved to the Patio Theater. 

15A_Bonjour TristesseMonday, July 8 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
BONJOUR TRISTESSE
Directed by Otto Preminger • 1958
Hoping to make amends to Iowa ingénue Jean Seberg after her critically reviled debut in Saint Joan, Otto Preminger cast her as the sullen Cecile in his adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s racy best-selling novel Bonjour Tristesse. A spoiled brat with a semi-incestuous fixation on her hard-drinking playboy father (David Niven, essentially continuing his performance from Preminger’s The Moon is Blue), Seberg plots to sabotage his grown-up affair with fashion designer Deborah Kerr. Teaming up with some of the key craftspeople of the classical French cinema (photographer Georges Périnal, composer Georges Auric), Preminger emerged with a bizarre and captivating hybrid: shot on location in color and CinemaScope on the French Riviera, Bonjour Tristesse credibly proposes the teenage soap opera as a form of high art. Screenwriter Arthur Laurents would attempt the same gambit three years later in his big-screen version of West Side Story, but no film comes close to Bonjour Tristesse in taking adolescent sexuality as the most consequential subject in the world. (KW)
94 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm vault print from Sony Pictures Repertory

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What’s that? Too late for July 4th-style patriotism? We beg to differ…

16A_American RomanceWednesday, July 10 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
AN AMERICAN ROMANCE
Directed by King Vidor • 1944
A leisurely American epic that devotes nearly as much screen time to the insides of automobile factories and steel mills as it does to its narrative, An American Romance stars Brian Donlevy as an ambitious Czech immigrant who works his way up from a lowly factory worker to a wealthy industrialist. Cut from the same cloth as hyper-enthusiastic, pro-American films like This Is the Army, An American Romance may as well have been an industrial film to boost morale at General Motors, and we mean that in the best possible way: lush Technicolor photography to show off American industry at its most thrilling, mixed with acting so sincere you’d think you were in a Coronet Films educational. Okay, Donlevy’s accent may be about as convincing as Boris Badenov in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, but it also tips the film over into the land of the surreal. (JA)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
121 min • MGM • 35mm from George Eastman House, permission Warner Bros.

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