Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Maidens in Uniform

Dear femmes and friends des femmes,

We love Romy Schneider.

So we're very proud to announce that we've teamed up with the Goethe-Institut London for our next exciting event: A Maidens in Uniform double bill on 29 November at Curzon Soho.

Information about the screening is pasted below, along with details of all the other Romy Schneider films being screened at this year's German Film Festival. Hope to see you there.

And if you're feeling like this isn't enough excitement, why not visit us in Berlin at this November's Britspotting where we're hosting a Vivienne Dick retrospective? If you haven't ever seen Vivienne's films, it's time to buy a plane ticket.

Love and respect,

Sarah & Selina


On the occasion of the forthcoming UK release of Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno in November and of a major exhibition opening at the Museum für Film und Fernsehen in Berlin in December, Ciné lumière, Club des Femmes, German Films, and Goethe-Institut London present Tribute to Romy Schneider. Beginning with Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch, Ciné lumière will show six films, including Visconti’s epic Ludwig, between Friday, 20 November and Wednesday, 25 November. On Saturday, 28 November the season continues with Sissi at the Curzon Soho as part of the 12th Festival of German Films. A rare double bill of the 1931 and 1958 versions of Maidens in Uniform, introduced by author Ali Smith, concludes the season on Sunday, 29 November.

Born in 1938 in Vienna, Romy Schneider was propelled into stardom as a young ‘Sissi’ and became one of Europe’s most popular and critically acclaimed actresses. Initially totally identified with the role of the young and naïve Austrian Empress, she managed to reinvent herself when she left Austria and Germany behind and moved to France. Longing to cast off her teenage image and be accepted as a serious actor, she seized the chance to work with directors such as Luchino Visconti, Orson Welles, Henri-Georges Clouzot, and later on with Claude Chabrol, Claude Miller, or Claude Sautet, with whom she made five films. She played alongside some of France’s greatest male stars including Jean-Louis Trintignant, Lino Ventura, Philippe Noiret, Yves Montand, and repeatedly with Michel Piccoli. The public often paid more attention to the turmoil in her private life, her relationship with Alain Delon and particularly the death of her son, than to her professional achievements. With the constant media attention on her life it was tempting for her as well as her audiences to blur the lines between her private self and the characters she played: strong, resilient women, who were also vulnerable, affectionate and joyful, or sometimes despairing and weary. Her iconic smooth face expressed it all with just the subtlest change. By the time she died of heart failure in 1982 she had won the prestigious César award twice and performed in more than 60 films.

All films are shown in English or with English subtitles except Death Watch, which is shown in English with French subtitles.


Ciné lumière
17 Queensberry Place
London SW7 2DT
BOX OFFICE 020 70731350

Curzon Soho
99 Shaftesbury Avenue
London, W1D 5DY
BOX OFFICE 0871 703 3988


Friday, 20 November, 8.40pm, Ciné lumière
La Mort en direct (Death Watch)
Diagnosed with a terminal disease, Katherine sells the TV rights to her death, but then hides, just to be unwittingly filmed by the one person she trusts. Tavernier considered Schneider, whose privacy had constantly been invaded by the media, as ideal for the role. Set in the near future, the film is surprisingly prophetic in the way it foreshadows reality TV and CCTV, also reflecting on film as voyeurism and simulacrum. Harvey Keitel co-stars, his camera-eyes fixed on his target, en route between a dystopian Glasgow and Land’s End.
France/FRG/UK. 1980, 128 mins. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier. With Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, Max von Sydow. English with French subtitles.

Saturday, 21 November, 6.15pm, Ciné lumière
Visconti, who had given Schneider decisive roles in theatre and film upon her arrival in France, casts her once more as Elisabeth of Austria, Ludwig’s cousin, as if to finally bring the Sissi chapter to a close. In this operatic and luxurious portrait of the ‘Mad’ King, shot on location inBavaria and Austria, she plays the mature Empress, who has gained relative freedom in spite of marriage and office. Ludwig adores her but knowing that he must not love her, she is empress enough to steer him towards her sister.
Italy/France/FR. 1972, 220mins with one interval. Directed by Luchino Visconti. With Romy Schneider, Helmut Berger, Trevor Howard, Silvana Mangano. Italian with English subtitles

Sunday, 22 November, 2pm, Ciné lumière (Sunday French Classics)
Le Train (The Last Train)
As the Germans invade France during WWII, Julien and his family flee south, but become separated. On a train with other refugees Julien meets Anna, a German Jew, and falls in love. Once they are safe, Julien sets off to find his wife and children. When he sees Anna again, it is in the presence of the Gestapo. Anna’s upright and emotional character appealed to Schneider, who viewed the film as a personal statement on Germany’s failure to deal with its Nazi past. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon.
France/Italy. 1973, 101mins. Directed by Pierre Granier-Deferre. With Romy Schneider, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Maurice Biraud, Paul Amiot. English only.

Sunday, 22 November, 4.05pm, Ciné lumière
Les Choses de la vie (The Things of Life)
Pierre has an accident and as he is lying by the side of the road, his half-conscious mind takes him back to the people and things he loved. Schneider’s first collaboration with Sautet and Piccoli, whom she both liked very much and would work with repeatedly, was a key film in her career. It consolidated her place in French cinema and coined her image as the modern independent woman, who like Hélène in this film, commits to her love and won’t accept a lover’s flight into nostalgia and indecision.
France/Italy 1969. 89mins. Directed by Claude Sautet. With Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Lea Massari, Gérard Lartigau. French with English subtitles.

Monday, 23 November, 8.40pm, Ciné lumière
La Piscine (The Swimming Pool)
While on holiday near St Tropez the couple Marianne and Jean-Paul enjoy lazing and making love around the pool. Things take a chillier turn when Marianne’s former lover appears with his teenage daughter. Delon suggested Schneider for the part of Marianne. The on-screen re-union of the former dream couple stirred many rumours and adds to the tension of this taut psychological drama, which also stars Delon’sPlein Soleil partner Maurice Ronet and a very young Jane Birkin. Lavishly photographed and here shown from a new print it is just the right film for November.
Italy/France 1969, 102mins. Directed by Jacques Deray. With Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet, Jane Birkin. French with English subtitles.

Tuesday, 24 November, 8.40pm, Ciné lumière
L'Important c'est d'aimer (The Most Important Thing: Love)
In a César-winning role that shows Schneider at her most vulnerable and fragile, but also at her most angry and cynical she plays a world-weary actress amidst a crowd of desperate artists, freaks, and gangsters. Bound to her escapist husband, she resists the love of a melancholy photographer who secretly pays a large sum of money to get her into a proper, yet ill-fated stage play. Zulawski’s first film outside Poland is a fierce, cacophonous, yet tender melodrama, which also stars Klaus Kinski in one of his best performances.
France 1974 / 75, 109mins. Directed by Andrzej Zulawski. With Romy Schneider, Fabio Testi, Jacques Dutronc, Klaus Kinski. French with English subtitles.

Wednesday, 25 November, 3pm, Ciné lumière
L'Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot (Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno)
In 1964 Henri-Georges Clouzot cast Schneider for his highly experimental film L’Enfer about a man’s obsessive jealousy. New visual effects were tested for months and Schneider, at times locked away for days with Clouzot and the camera team, would be covered in blue paint, olive oil or sequins. But the project had to be abandoned; the images, said to be amazing, were forgotten until brought back to life for this new film. A mixture of original, reconstruction and ‘making-of’, it is also a visual ode to the young and daring Romy Schneider.
France 1964 / 2009, 94mins. Directed by H.G. Clouzot, Serge Bromberg, Ruxandra Medrea. With Romy Schneider, Serge Reggiani, Bérénice Bejo, Jacques Gamblin. French with English subtitles.


Saturday, 28 November, 1.30pm, 12th Festival of German Films, Curzon Soho
In true fairy-tale fashion, young Sissi, the daughter of Duke Max of Bavaria, accidentally meets and so charms the Emperor of Austria that he marries her and she becomes Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Followed by two sequels, and even a US version, the film was also a fairy-tale success for Romy Schneider and Karlheinz Böhm. With its excellent cast, beautiful nature scenes and lavish court settings, it makes a unique spectacle.
Austria 1955, 102mins. Directed by Ernst Marischka. With Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Gustav Knuth. German with English subtitles.
Introduced by Professor Erica Carter, Warwick University.

Continuing their investigation into queer fandom and crushes and in honour of Romy Schneider, Club Des Femmes is delighted to co-present with the Goethe-Institut London a rare double bill of Maidens in Uniform (1931 and 1958 versions).
Writer Ali Smith will introduce each screening.

Synopsis for both films: Prussia 1910. After the death of her mother Manuela is taken to a boarding school for aristocratic girls. Sensitive and shy, she finds it difficult to adapt to the harsh Prussian discipline imposed by the school. Only one teacher, Fräulein von Bernburg, seems sympathetic to the girls. When Manuela, drunken with success and a little too much punch after peforming in the school play, openly declares her love for her teacher, the matron is outraged and her harsh punishment almost leads to catastrophe.

Sunday, 29 November, 3.30pm, 12th Festival of German Films, Curzon Soho
Maidens in Uniform (Mädchen in Uniform) 1931 by Leontine Sagan
Based on the play Yesterday and Today by Christa Winslow, the story was first made into an internationally successful film in 1931. Directed by Leontine Sagan, it starred an all-female cast and was cooperatively produced with cast and crew sharing the profits. Critics praised it as a highlight of late Weimar cinema but it was prohibited by the Nazis and only resurfaced with the rise of the feminist movement in the 70s, when its lesbian content moved more into focus as opposed to its reading as a primarily anti-authoritarian film.
Germany 1931, 88mins. Directed by Leontine Sagan. With Hertha Thiele, Dorothea Wieck, Emilie Unda. German with English subtitles.

Sunday, 29 November, 5.45pm, 12th Festival of German Films, Curzon Soho
Maidens in Uniform (Mädchen in Uniform) 1958 by Géza von Radványi with Romy Schneider
Released in 1958, the remake by male director Géza von Radványi was also very popular and for Schneider it was a personal breakthrough. She easily identified with Manuela’s character having spent several years in a boarding school herself and having felt the pressures of early stardom. But more importantly she was part of an excellent ensemble that included Therese Giehse, one of Germany’s greatest stage actresses, as well as the younger but equally well-respected Lili Palmer. Schneider shared a kissing scene with Palmer that caused a minor scandal in orderly post-war Germany. For Schneider however there was nothing frivolous about the film or the role. For the first time she felt like a serious actress, exulted and empowered as Manuela was by her part in the film’s pivotal stage play.
FRG 1958, 95mins. Directed by Géza von Radványi. Romy Schneider, Lilli Palmer, Therese Giehse, Christine Kaufmann, Sabine Sinjen.German with English subtitles.

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