Cultural digest, May: Cinema’s loss and wartime shots

A round-up of news, and those creating ‘le buzz’ in art, music and film

25 April 2018
By Justin Postlethwaite

1. Discreet charm of Stéphane Audran

Actress Stéphane Audran, a popular and much garlanded figure in French cinema whose success ran from the 50s to the 80s, passed away on March 27, aged 85.

“Her presence, her elegance and her inimitable voice remain and resonate,” wrote France’s Culture Minster Françoise Nyssen wrote on Twitter.

Audran starred in 23 of husband Claude Chabrol’s films, many of which centred around murder and infidelity (including Le Boucher and Les Noces Rouges). She was previously married to fellow actor Jean-Louis Trintignant.

A later career highlight came in 1987’s Oscar-winning Danish film Babette’s Feast, in which she played, with pared-down elegance, the titular housekeeper. It is said to be the Pope’s favourite film.

2. 1968 and all that...
It remains unclear if President Macron will formally mark 50 years since the social unrest of May 1968 that almost toppled de Gaulle’s government. Macron had appeared keen back in October 2017 but has since played down any official line on that year’s events. Meanwhile, La Terrasse at Nanterre university, where it all kicked off, is the place to see a retrospective exhibition: 1968/2018 looks at the role of artists and their depiction of May 68 events, both then and ever since.

3. Unseen war photos to be shown

40 photographs censored in France during World War One are to go on display in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. The images were held back from public viewing not only to preserve French military interests, but also because their
dissemination could call into question domestic stability and public support for the national wartime cause.

Some of them reveal military secrets or say too much about equipment or strategy, while others show injured soldiers and badly maintained frontline graves.

Banned images of the Great War, now showing at Historique de la Défense, 4, rue du Port, Rochefort until June 30;
www.servicehistorique.sga.defense.gouv.fr

4. Family matters
André Boudou, father of Laeticia Hallyday, has hit back at criticism of his family after it was revealed that deceased singer Johnny Hallyday’s two children, David and Laura,
had been disinherited in a will made under American law (this act is illegal in France).

“If he had not met us, Johnny would have died in ruins, he would not have had the end of career he knew, nor the national homage that France paid him,” Mr Boudou told Libération. “When Laeticia met him, Johnny was a depressive artist, full of drugs, with debts of €23million.”

5. Sun’s out, controversy’s about

Abdellatif Kechiche received criticism from his two lead actresses for his filming methods on 2013’s Palme d’Or winner, explicit lesbian drama Blue is the Warmest Colour (Léa Seydoux called the experience ‘horrible’).

The acclaimed director returns with a teen romance, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, which has already got some critics complaining about the lingering shots of young female cast members’ bodies.

One of the actresses, however, defended the director. “It’s a film about desire, so we shouldn’t delude ourselves,” said Ophélie Bau (pictured above).

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