The 14th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — sponsored by Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. This year’s featured films span the decades from the 1920s through the 1990s, offering a revealing overview of French cinema.
The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features seven such works, including a brand-new restoration of Luis Bunuel’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” which is part of our year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries.
In honor of St. Louis’ own Josephine Baker and her installation in France’s Panthéon on Nov. 30 of last year, the fest will present her silent film debut, “Siren of the Tropics,” with an original score and live accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.
Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics. All films are in French with English subtitles.
The Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor.
Venue: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.
Tickets: Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for students and Cinema St. Louis members. Webster U. students are admitted free. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Cinema St. Louis website.
Passes: Two types of passes are available: Five-Film Passes are $65, $50 for CSL members; All-Access Passes are $120, and $95 for CSL members.
More Info: 314-289-4150, cinemastlouis.org
For film synopses, see the CSL website
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 5
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie/Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie
Luis Buñuel, France, 1972, 102 min., color, French, Latin & Spanish, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Cliff Froehlich, former executive director of Cinema St. Louis and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster University.
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 6
Siren of the Tropics/La sirène des tropiques
Henri Étiévant & Mario Nalpas (uncredited), France, 1927, 86 min., black-and-white, silent, DVD
With live accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra
Intro and discussion by Pier Marton, video artist and self-described “Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media.”
7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 7
Claire Denis, Djibouti/France, 1992, 99 min., color, French, Italian & Russian, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Diane Carson, professor emerita of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic for KDHX (88.1 FM).
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 12
Fantastic Planet/La planète sauvage
René Laloux, Czechoslovakia/France, 1973, 72 min., color, French, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog.
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 13
Breathless/À bout de souffle
Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1960, 90 min., black-and-white, English & French, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Kathy Corley, documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of film at Webster University.
7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 14
Amélie/Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France, 2001, 122 min., color, French, DCP
Intro and discussion by Jean-Louis Pautrot, professor of French and International Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Saint Louis University.
7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 19
The Battle of Algiers/La battaglia di Algeri
Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria/Italy, 1966, 121 min., black-and-white, Arabic & French, Blu-ray
Intro and discussion by Salim Ayoub, Bruce P. Robert Endowed Professor in French and Francophone Studies and director of the Centre Francophone at Webster University.
7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 20
Le cercle rouge
Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1970, 140 min., color, French, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog, and contributor to Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog.
7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 21
Olivier Assayas, France, 1996, 99 min., color, English & French, restoration, DCP
Intro and discussion by Joshua Ray, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog and host of The Lens podcast.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.