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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

FRANCOFONIA

5:45 only

Final Day - Tuesday, May 10

DIRECTED BY ALEXANDER SOKUROV

FRANCOFONIA, directed by master Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (RUSSIAN ARK), is an urgent meditation on the essential relationship between art, culture, and 20th century European history, set in occupied Paris c.1940. Applying his uniquely personal vision, Sokurov paints a fascinating portrait of two real-life characters: the Louvre’s wartime director, Jacques Jaujard, and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich, the Nazis’ emissary to the great museum. The movie is a battle of wits between these remarkable art professionals – enemies, then collaborators – whose unlikely alliance becomes the driving force behind the preservation of one of the world’s great artistic treasure troves. A playful subplot introduces the ghosts of Napoleon and Marianne, France’s symbol of liberté, égalité, fraternité.

FRANCE/GERMANY/NETHERLANDS  •  2015  •  87 MINS.  •  IN FRENCH, RUSSIAN AND GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES  •  MUSIC BOX FILMS

Reviews

“Visually arresting cinema that invites serious thought.” 
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A marvelous meditation on the Louvre – and culture itself. (Sokurov) is puckish in teasing out the complexities, juxtaposing footage of Hitler motoring about Paris with rich costume-comedy of Napoleon, today, wandering the galleries in search of his own image.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

“Bold and Confident. Fascinatingly Subtle. A fascinating essay and meditation on art, history and humanity’s idea of itself.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)  

“A detective story for viewers. The Louvre appears as treasure house, resurrection site, crime scene. FRANCOFONIA does an even stronger job [than RUSSIAN ARK] of portraying the endangerment of culture by history… We know intellectually that paintings are windows into disparate moments of the past, but FRANCOFONIA makes us feel the truth of this in the pits of our stomachs.”
– Christina Svendsen, Film Comment

“Intellectually engaging. A meditation on the fate of great art in times of danger. We’re treated to gorgeous close ups of some of the Louvre’s greatest paintings.”
– Nick James, Sight + Sound

“A freewheeling poetic essay, highly personal yet captivating. A dense, enriching meditation on the Louvre, Paris and the role of art as an intrinsic part of the spirit of civilization. A rich and varied palette of textures and tones that makes for constantly renewed visual pleasure.”
– Jay Weissberg, Variety

“One of European cinema’s true cultural giants, Russian auteur Alexander Sokurov… After RUSSIAN ARK, his 2002 tour-de-force set in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage, it’s the Louvre’s turn to be put under his whimsically intelligent historical magnifying glass.” 
– Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter