Lelouche offers free cinema seatsfor panned film

16th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - Rattled by reviews savaging his latest film, "Les Parisiens", Oscar-winning French director Claude Lelouch has said he will give nationwide free screenings Friday so the public could make up its own mind.

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - Rattled by reviews savaging his latest film, "Les Parisiens", Oscar-winning French director Claude Lelouch has said he will give nationwide free screenings Friday so the public could make up its own mind.  

"Confronted with an unprecedented media storm, and to also allow the public to give its own opinion, I am offering a free screening of my film 'Les Parisiens' in 400 cinemas in France tomorrow, Friday, at the 7:00 pm showing within the limit of seats available," Lelouch wrote in a statement given to AFP Thursday.  

The unusual step came after France's newspapers gave a resounding thumbs-down to the production, the first in a trilogy which examines life, love and sex in a torrent of characters meeting, coupling, betraying each other and breaking up, all in the form of a musical.  

Critics were particularly scathing, with the Liberation newspaper calling it a "pathetic comedy" and Le Monde dismissing it as "indigestible".  

Lelouch is "a cineaste whose hour of glory has gone and who today suffers from being left behind," Le Monde added.  

Although the prolific 66-year-old director won a screenwriting Oscar in 1967 for the love story "A Man and a Woman", his movies since - all exploring the ups and downs of relationships - have mostly relegated him to the auteur circuit in France.  

A sequel to his one hit, titled "A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later", sank without trace when it was shown in 1986. A couple of others - "And Now My Love" (1974) and "Les Miserables" (1995) - won some respect but little in the way of awards.  

"Les Parisiens", which opened across France on Wednesday, is designed to be the first of a three-parter Lelouch has called his "Genre Humain" (human species) trilogy: a flowing stream of love, passion and infidelity.  

With no producer willing to finance such an artistic endeavour, the director put up the rights to his last 40 films as collateral to get them made, Le Figaro newspaper said, quoting Lelouch as saying: "For me, love is the most exciting and serious adventure of our existence."  

But while French critics may nod at his sentiment, they have given short shrift to Lelouch's execution.  

Chronic'art, an Internet site dedicated to French cinema and culture, said the director "is in the outer space of pathetic, not only because the film plumbs the abyss of lameness but also because this megalomania flows onto the screen with disheartening self-assurance."  

Another newspaper, Ouest France, noted with a tone of despair that "this is only the start. There are still another two Genre Humains to come."

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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