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Monday, August 22

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France, 1989
Directed by Alain Resnais
Starring Adolph Green, Gérard Depardieu, Linda Lavin, Micheline Presle
Music by John Kander
Screenplay by Jules Feiffer
DCP.  Approx. 100 minutes. In English and French with English subtitles.

“Resnais’s second English-language film… A burlesque yet melancholy film about an American cartoonist. In developing the project, Resnais approached American cartoonist Jules Feiffer, who provided the script. The film was received with a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival in 1989 and Feiffer received the award for best script. But the film was not widely distributed and, in Feiffer’s words, remained, ‘unseen and unseeable’, in the United States… On the one hand it is a nostalgic film about Americans in Paris (as his star cartoonist, Joey Wellman, Resnais cast Adolph Green, screenwriter of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN). On the other, it seeks, more rawly, to investigate family material.” – Emma Wilson


"Alain Resnais’s I WANT TO GO HOME has a splenetic oddball quality that’s at odds with the evanescent tendencies of its maker’s later films. In an antic mood, the veteran filmmaker decides that a cartoonist’s mind is no less tumultuous than a poet’s, and gets acerbic comic-strip doyen Jules Feiffer and the weirdest cast available to weave a satirical view of Franco-American culture clash. Cleveland cartoonist Joey Wellman (famed MGM musical writer Adolph Green, co-screenwriter of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN) travels reluctantly for an exhibition of his work in Paris, where his estranged, resentful daughter Elsie (Laura Benson) is trying to purge her American roots by studying Flaubert under the renowned scholar Christian Gauthier (Gérard Depardieu, struggling valiantly with his phonetic English). The cranky protagonist’s creations, Hep Cat and Sally Cat, pop up in animated thought balloons to comment on the action; meanwhile, the live-action cartoons include Linda Lavin as Green’s shrugging companion, Micheline Presle as Depardieu’s randy mom, and John Ashton as a Gallic vision of Yankee crudeness, all brought together for a costume party that’s meant as a Looney Tunes version of THE RULES OF THE GAME… A truly strange brew perpetually inviting disaster yet somehow always eluding the abyss, I WANT TO GO HOME is an inexplicable item but an affable one, the work of a buoyantly tranquil artist amusing himself with a doodle.” 
— Fernando F. Croce, Slant 

Film Forum