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A Tribute to Jean-Claude Carrière

May 5, 2006 - May 6, 2006

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The Phantom of Liberty, May 6

The 2006 recipient of the San Francisco International Film Festival's Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting, Jean-Claude Carrière has been called "the screenwriter of choice for the world's finest directors" (New York Times). A consummate collaborator, he has crafted intelligent and boldly imaginative works with auteurs including Jean-Luc Godard, Louis Malle, Volker Schlöndorff, Andrzej Wajda, and, most notably, Luis Buñuel, who cited him as "undoubtedly the writer closest to me." Buñuel hired the young Carrière in 1963 to work on the screenplay for Diary of a Chambermaid, beginning a decades-long collaboration that generated a half-dozen films as well as Buñuel's sly "autobiography" My Last Sigh.

Carrière will be on hand for the festival screening of Belle de jour at PFA on April 30, and on May 5 and 6 we present four more of his works with Buñuel, including The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and The Phantom of Liberty, described in My Last Sigh as a "triptych": "All three have the same themes, sometimes even the same grammar; and all evoke the search for truth, as well as the necessity of abandoning it as soon as you've found it. All show the implacable nature of social rituals; and all argue for the importance of coincidence, of a personal morality, and of the essential mystery in all things, which must be maintained and respected."

Two films cowritten by Carrière and directed by Godard, Every Man for Himself and Passion, are featured in our Isabelle Huppert series.

Juliet Clark

Friday, May 5, 2006
7:00 p.m. Diary of a Chambermaid
Jeanne Moreau is a chambermaid in a household of perfectly ordinary bourgeois perverts in this darkly funny update of the Mirbeau novel, the first film in the long collaboration between Buñuel and screenwriter Carrière.

Friday, May 5, 2006
9:00 p.m. The Milky Way
Two derelicts make an impious pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, with many detours in time and space along the way. Part theological fantasy, part shaggy dog story, the film makes manifest Buñuel's famous motto: "Thank God I'm an atheist!"

Saturday, May 6, 2006
6:30 p.m. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
This account of six wealthy people's thwarted attempts to sit down to dinner is the comedy of manners to end all comedies of manners.

Saturday, May 6, 2006
8:30 p.m. The Phantom of Liberty
Casual blasphemies and waking dreams, bourgeois improprieties and Surrealist sight gags are strung together in this slippery chain of abortive comic vignettes, loosely coiled around themes of enslavement and the fear of freedom.

The Pacific Film Archive acknowledges the following individuals and organizations for their generous support of this series: Linda Blackaby, San Francisco International Film Festival; Christophe Musitelli, French Consulate, San Francisco; and Eric Di Bernardo, Rialto Pictures, New York.