The Great Cinematic Clown Pierre Étaix
**SCREENERS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST**
FEBRUARY 6–21, WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY
All new 35mm prints!
Jerry Lewis acclaimed him as a genius and Terry Gilliam is a devoted fan: Pierre Étaix is a one-man new wave of comedy. A clown, magician, illustrator and cabaret artist whose films recall the genius of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd, he's probably the finest physical comedian you’ve never heard of.
The extent of his film work, like Jacques Tati’s, is short; just five films. Yet his contribution to film comedy and film language is enormous. Tied up in copyright issues for forty years, and finally released due to a petition of 56,000 signatures (including those of Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch and Woody Allen), Pierre Étaix’s films finally return to cinema audiences. Étaix's cinema career had auspicious beginnings: he crafted artwork and jokes for Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle (1958) and demonstrated his sleight of hand in Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959), before going on to direct and star in films of his own.
Lovingly restored by Technicolor Foundation for Cinema, the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Studio 37, this retrospective of Étaix’ films is long overdue.
“A MASTER OF SCREEN COMEDY! He is every bit as worthy of praise and study as Tati, yet he is all but unknown today.” – Leonard Maltin
"ÉTAIX IS A REVELATION: HILARIOUS, SUBVERSIVE, DEADPAN. You can see in his work the seeds of everything we've laughed at during the last sixty plus years." – Ken Burns
“Pierre Étaix is for me, cinema in its purist sense. This little man is a giant.” - Jerry Lewis
FEBRUARY 6, WEDNESDAY AT 7, 9:15PM
Le Grand Amour
(Pierre Étaix, France, 1969, 35mm, 86 min)
Étaix plays Pierre, married to Florence (Annie Fratellini) - though he figures he could have married one of numerous other women. Despite the salacious gossip of the elderly local women who watch his every move, he has enjoyed a largely happy marriage and a satisfactory, albeit not exactly stimulating, life. Then the arrival of a new secretary, 18 year-old Agnes (Nicole Calfan), turns his world upside down.
Consumed by a passion which he is convinced must be love, he indulges in increasingly absurd and charmingly innocent romantic fantasies, utterly distracted from his day-to-day life. Over time, he becomes convinced that the only way he can be happy is to consummate his new-found love. But the dilemmas this presents him with are overwhelming.
“The end to this long-running legal dispute should be a cause for celebration among film fans, even though many, quite understandably, will never have seen one of his movies before.”
—Pamela Hutchinson, The Guardian
Plus Academy Award-winning short Heureux Anniversaire (1962)
FEBRUARY 7, THURSDAY AT 7, 9PM
(Pierre Étaix, France, 1965, 35mm, 92 min)
Yo Yo spans many decades, mirroring the silent film arena in the early 20s. Étaix plays a millionaire longing for his first love—an equestrienne in the circus. When he loses everything in the crash of 1929, dialogue is introduced and he joins the circus to be with his lover. They have a son together and he grows up to be a famous performer. Étaix steps in as the adult son, showcasing his clowning skills and talent in both silent and audible styles comedy.
FEBRUARY 13, WEDNESDAY AT 7, 9:15PM
As Long As You’re Healthy
(Pierre Étaix, France, 1966, 35mm, 78 min)
In this slapstick observational comedy, the hassles of city life trigger a chain of events that lead Pierre’s girlfriend to walk out on him. With his life spiraling out of control, Pierre retreats to the countryside for some peace and quiet.
“Twice in my life I understood what genius was. The first time was looking at the definition in the dictionary. The second was encountering Pierre Étaix.” —Jerry Lewis
Screens with short film Feeling Good
FEBRUARY 14, THURSDAY AT 7, 9PM
(Pierre Étaix, France, 1963, 35mm 83 min)
Under parental pressure to find a wife, Pierre becomes a bookworm on the prowl. According to Pamela Hutchinson of The Guardian, the story is “…essentially the tale of a man being dragged through Paris by his own recently awakened libido.” His plans not unexpectedly go awry in Pierre Étaix’s delightful first feature.
Screens with short film Rapture
FEBRUARY 21, THURSDAY AT 7, 9PM
Land of Milk And Honey
(Pierre Étaix, France, 1971, 35mm 80 min)
Filmed the summer after the protests of 1968, Étaix captures the French on vacation. In his first and only documentary, audio interviews entertain the director’s fixation with modern living. The result is a satirical juxtaposition of leisure and violence.
Etaix_PressNotes.pdf (pdf, 2 MB)
milkandhoney1.jpg (jpg, 3 MB)
suitor3.jpg (jpg, 2 MB)
aslongasyourehealthy.jpg (jpg, 2 MB)
yoyo2.jpg (jpg, 1 MB)
grandamour1.jpg (jpg, 2 MB)
rupture.jpg (jpg, 997 KB)