By Ray Pride

America pays tribute to Sylvie and Maurice Pialat

America pays tribute to Sylvie and Maurice Pialat

Two events will soon shine the spotlight on Maurice Pialat in the USA and inCanada : a retrospective held at the MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image) in New York from October 16 through November 1, 2015; and “Love Exists: The Films of Maurice Pialat” at the TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto fromOctober 22 through December 5, held in the presence of Sylvie Pialat.
Sylvie Pialat, a prolific producer who has been honored on many occasions in France this year, and who collaborated on numerous films by the late Maurice Pialat, will be in New York, then Toronto, to participate in this double retrospective event. She will present a selection of films by the celebrated director, including Naked Childhood and Loulou, as well as films she has made as a producer.

Sylvie Pialat is credited with co-writing, along with Maurice Pialat, PoliceUnder the Sun of Satan, and Le Garçu, but she is better known nowadays as the producer at the helm of the production company Les Films du Worso after gaining international recognition for the hit films Stranger by the Lake and Timbuktu ($1,089 million at the North American box office). With the release of Le Trésorby Corneliu PorumboiuThe White Knights by Joachim LafosseValley of Love by Guillaume Nicloux, and Evolution by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2015 has seen Sylvie Pialat join the short-list of the most prominent French producers on the international circuit, whose films feature strongly in theaters around the world and at leading international film festivals, including CannesBerlin, andToronto.

The College of Staten Island, which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY), will welcome Sylvie Pialat on October 19 to lead a special master class preceded by a screening ofTimbuktu, a film that took Les Films du Worso and their producer Pialat to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and the Highland Center in January 2015 as nominees for last year’s Oscar in the Best Foreign-Language Film category.

On October 20, Sylvie Pialat will lead another master class, this time at Purchase College (University of New York).

The retrospective will travel to Toronto (TIFF Cinematheque) on October 22. Sylvie Pialat will be present at this leg of the event to present Naked Childhood and Under the Sun of Satan, as well asValley of Love, a film by Guillaume Nicloux that was in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and was shot on location in Death Valley.

The retrospective of films by Maurice Pialat will also be presented at a later date at the Harvard Film Archives and the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard College.
These events are organized in collaboration with the Cultural Services Department of the French Embassy in New York, with support from the Institut Français, and, of course, the MOMI and the TIFF Cinematheque.

Visit the page on the MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image) website and the dedicated page on the TIFF Cinematheque website.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon