Monday 14 December 2020

CINEMA REBORN - A double dose of Claude Sautet at the Randwick Ritz - Saturday 19th December at 4.00 pm A FEW DAYS WITH ME (1988), Sunday 20th December at 4.00 pm NELLY AND M. ARNAUD (1995)

A Few Days with Me

The Claude Sautet season at the Randwick Ritz presented in association with Cinema Reborn and StudioCanal ends with a bang with screenings this coming weekend of two of the master’s most revered films.

First up is A Few Days with Me made in 1988 and screening on Saturday 19 December at 4.00 pm. The film recently screened as part of a Sautet series at New York’s Lincoln Centre and what follows are the program notes issued for the occasion.

Dispirited by the critical and commercial failure of Garçon!, Sautet flirted with retirement before the enterprising young producer Philippe Carcassone lured him back with a simple proposition: to make a film with actors, screenplay collaborators and technicians he had never worked with before. The result, A Few Days with Me, would prove the beginning of a late-career renaissance for the director. …Daniel Auteuil stars as Martial Pasquier, the eccentric scion of a prominent supermarket-owning family. Newly released from a psychiatric hospital when the film begins, Martial is dispatched to the sleepy provincial town of Limoges to perform a routine check-up on one of the family stores. It’s not long, however, before he flummoxes the local riff-raff and petit bourgeoisie alike by taking up with Francine, the semi-literate housemaid (Sandrine Bonnaire) of the fussbudget store manager (the marvelous Jean-Pierre Marielle). Chocked full of delightful secondary characters, including Francine’s lovable lug of a boyfriend (Vincent Lindon) and Martial’s exasperated, drama queen mother (the legendary Danielle Darrieux), this splendid riff on the Pygmalion story turns on a dime from gentle class satire to full-blown farce, culminating in a psychedelic dinner party from hell worthy of Jacques Tati. Sautet himself would come to rank A Few Days, alongside César and Rosalie and Max et les ferrailleurs, as his personal favorites among his own films.

“Sautet, one of the great artisans of the naturalistic French screenplay, is dealing with life and death, love that destroys, but he mixes his moods expertly. He keeps A Few Days With Me incongruously light, deft, humorous.”—Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times


Nelly and M. Arnaud

Then on Sunday 20thDecember at 4.00 pm is Sautet’s final film, the remarkable Nelly and M.Arnaud. This film was a particular favourite of the great American critic Roger Ebert. Some of Roger’s thoughts are set out below but if you are curious you can find the complete review if you click here


“What a delicate dance they perform in Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud.It is a matter of great erotic fascination when two people are intrigued by the notion of becoming lovers, but are held back by the fear of rejection and the fear of involvement. Signals are transmitted that would require a cryptographer to decode. The difficulty is to send a message that can be read one way if the answer is yes, and the other way if the answer is no.


…..Nelly and Monsieur Arnaudwon two Cesar Awards, the French Oscars, for best director and actor. 


….Beart is as talented and subtle as she is beautiful, and in this role, where so much goes unsaid, nothing goes uncommunicated.

Serrault finds a gravity and intelligence that are indispensable to the character. And he avoids all temptations toward sentimentalizing the situation; he gives us no way to feel sorry for Arnaud, who demonstrates, especially at the end of the story, that he is quite able to take care of himself.


“A movie like this is likely to appeal to the same kinds of people who admire the novels of Henry James. It is about the emotional negotiations of people who place great value on their status quo, yet find it leaves them lonely. Sometimes, of course, the alternatives to loneliness are not worth the price, and that is something to think about, especially for Monsieur Arnaud and perhaps even for Nelly.”








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