"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."
It’s been said time and time again that French women are effortlessly chic. But where does that air of simultaneously elegant, seductive yet carefree allure come from? They certainly don’t get by merely with those Birkin-inspired bangs and Chloé handbags. From 9 April to 23 July at Ciné Lumière of the Institut Français in South Kensington, The Bold Women of French Cinema, a curated series of films are screened to both celebrate and raise discussion about French women’s participation and representation in the golden years of French cinema.
Powerful performances by some of the most iconic French actresses and the fascinating, influential female personas that were born alongside it relive on screen in modern day West London, and are all ready to be penciled into your diary.
The film festival is co-curated by Professor Ginette Vincendeau, who specialises in Film Studies at King’s College. And the selections range from New Wave classics to contemporary stories: we get to see the classic scene where the free-spirited Catherine, portrayed by Jeanne Moreau, leaped into the Seine out of spite in François Truffaut’s highly acclaimed Jules et Jim (1961) and we still can’t decide if it’s the film Et Dieu Créa La Femme (1956) that created Brigitte Bardot, or is it Bardot that brought the film to life? (Or both?)
And there’s many more: the heartbreaking romance Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), New Wave masterwork La Maman Et La Putain (1973) and the documentary Bernadette Lafont, et Dieu créa la femme libre (2016), which tells the story of Lafont, French cinema’s most atypical actress, just to name a few.
Whether if it’s for an unwinding activity after a stressful day at work on Tuesdays or a date destination on a Sunday afternoon, the film festival The Bold Women in French Cinema is a très chic cultural experience not to be missed.