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Isabelle Huppert

ISABELLE HUPPERT

13 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2007

Issabelle Huppert

Celebrated for her versatility and fearless approach to the filmmaking process, French actress Isabelle Huppert (b. 1955) has portrayed some of European cinemas most unsentimental, libidinous and provocative female characters. The seductive self-awareness and subtlety that characterise her remarkable career have led many to describe her as one of the greatest actresses working in cinema today. Huppert has featured in over 80 critically celebrated feature films since her debut in 1971 and has worked with many of Europe’s pre-eminent directors, including Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Haneke, Maurice Pialat, Joseph Losey, Raúl Ruiz, Diane Kurys and Bertrand Tavernier.

In 1977, Huppert received a Best Actress Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for The Lacemaker 1977, bringing her beguiling talents to an international audience. Huppert has also received two Best Actress Awards at the Cannes International Film Festival (for Violette Nozière in 1978 and La Pianiste in 2001), two Volpi Cups from the Venice International Film Festival (for Story of Women in 1989 and The Ceremony in 1995) as well as a César Award from the French Academy for her role in The Ceremony. Acknowledging the actress’s significant contribution to cinema, Huppert was recipient of the Special Lion from the Venice International Film Festival in 2005 and received the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2003.

Isabelle Huppert is presented in partnership with Alliance Française, Brisbane, and the Embassy of France in Australia.

Isabelle Huppert curated by Jose Da Silva, with accompanying film notes.

Production still from The Lacemaker 1977 / Image courtesy:Janus - Action Films / Onoma

The Lacemaker (La Dentellière) 1977 Ages 15+
12.30pm Sunday 15 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 108 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE/SWITZERLAND/WEST GERMANY, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CLAUDE GORETTA / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ACTION FILMS, CITEL FILMS, FILMPRODUKTION JANUS, FRANCE 3 / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ONOMA, FRANCE

In the role that brought her international attention, Isabelle Huppert plays Béatrice, an apprentice beautician from Paris whose nickname Pomme (meaning Apple) reflects her vitality and innocence. While holidaying in Normandy she meets François (Yves Beneyton), a well-spoken student from the Sorbonne who is captivated by her shyness and sexual innocence. Their seaside romance is heartfelt but short-lived. Returning to their ordinary lives in Paris, class disparities prompt the self-conscious François to end the relationship abruptly. Pomme's shame and rejection has devastating and lasting consequences. Huppert is heartbreaking as the fragile young girl, imbuing the character with awkwardness and heightened sensitivity. Claude Goretta's study of love and class difference refers to the intimate painting The Lacemaker c.1669–71 by Johannes Vermeer. Like Vermeer's lacemaker, hermetically sealed in a world of domesticity, Pomme finds herself trapped in a demoralising solitude.

Production still from Violette Nozière 1978 / Image courtesy: British Film Institute

Violette Nozière 1978 Ages 18+
2.30pm Saturday 14 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 122 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE/CANADA, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: CLAUDE CHABROL / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CINÉVIDÉO, FILMEL, FRANCE 3 / PRINT SOURCE: CINÉMATHÈQUE QUÉBÉCOISE, CANADA / RIGHTS: FILMOPTION INTERNATIONAL, CANADA

Desperate to rid herself of all traces of bourgeois respectability, Violette Nozière, a 19-year-old daughter of the middle-class, escapes to the Left Bank cafes and hotels of 1930s Paris. Contracting syphilis from a sexual encounter, she scandalises her family and is estranged from them. Violette plots with a lover to poison her parents and inherit the family's fortunes. Using author Jean-Marie Fitère's historical account of this real-life crime from 1933, director Claude Chabrol dramatises the events leading up to Violette's sensational trial and sentencing — a trial celebrated by the Surrealists as damning family values and bourgeois hypocrisy. As Violette, Isabelle Huppert elicits both disgust and empathy, challenging Chabrol's study of criminality to move beyond simply a portrait of patricide to a complex study of adolescent sexuality and bourgeois repression.

Production still from Slow Motion 1979 / Image courtesy: Gaumont

Slow Motion aka Every Man for Himself (Sauve Qui Peut (la Vie)) 1979 Ages 15+
6.00pm Wednesday 18 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 88 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE/SWITZERLAND, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JEAN-LUC GODARD / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CDIC, MK2 PRODUCTIONS, SARA FILMS, SONIMAGE, TÉLÉVISION SUISSE-ROMANDE, ZOETROPE STUDIOS, ZWEITES DEUTSCHES FERNSEHEN, ÖSTERREICHISCHER RUNDFUNK / PRINT SOURCE/ RIGHTS: SOCIÉTÉ DES ETABLISSEMENTS L GAUMONT, FRANCE

Jean-Luc Godard completed Slow Motion after an eight-year break from filmmaking, labelling it his 'second first film'. The English title refers to the use of step-printed slow motion to convey the emotional reactions of characters. Godard structures the film around five chapters that deal metaphorically with aspects of modern life that have been distorted by capitalism: 'Life', 'The Imaginary', 'Fear', 'Trade' and 'Music'. These chapters are connected by the three characters who are facing major changes in their lives: Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc), a television director recently separated from his wife and daughter; Denise Rimbaud (Nathalie Baye), a writer who plans to move to the country when her relationship ends; and Isabelle Rivière (Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute looking for accommodation and a new vocation. Godard reportedly offered Huppert one statement about her character: 'Hers is the face of suffering'.

Production still from Loulou 1980 / Image courtesy: Gaumont

Loulou 1980 Ages 15+
12 noon Saturday 21 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 110 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MAURICE PIALAT / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ACTION FILMS, SOCIÉTÉ DES ETABLISSEMENTS L GAUMONT / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: SOCIÉTÉ DES ETABLISSEMENTS L GAUMONT, FRANCE

Loulou is a challenging film about infidelity, sexual liberation and the emotional harm men inflict on women in the name of love. After meeting the charismatic and brutish Loulou (Gérard Depardieu) at a Paris disco, Nelly (Isabelle Huppert) abandons her middle-class life with the possessive André (Guy Marchand). Nelly and the thieving layabout Loulou check into a hotel and rarely leave their bed. Nelly continues to work for André and live with Loulou until an unexpected pregnancy further complicates the situation. Huppert is fresh and enigmatic, pushing the chemistry between Nelly and Loulou to fever pitch. Nelly's destructive relationship with both men is told with a cruel and bitter humour devoid of melodrama. The film took over two years to complete; the autobiographical nature of the screenplay left director Maurice Pialat wishing he had never made it.

Production still from Clean Slate 1981 / Image courtesy: Canal Plus Image

Clean Slate (Coup de Torchon) 1981 Ages 15+
2.00pm Saturday 21 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 128 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE, FRENCH/ENGLISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: BERTRAND TAVERNIER / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: FILMS A2, LES FILMS DE LA TOUR, LITTLE BEAR / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: CANAL PLUS IMAGE, FRANCE

Set on the eve of World War Two in a small Senegalese village in French colonial West Africa, Clean Slate is a dark comedy. Lucien Cordier (Philippe Noiret) is a Police Chief in a town populated by failures. He receives no respect from locals and finds himself humiliated on a daily basis; he decides one day to begin killing his adversaries and anyone who makes his life difficult. Isabelle Huppert gives a riveting performance as the oversexed Rose, a battered wife who begins a protracted affair with Lucien and becomes complicit in the escalating homicides. Based on the 1964 pulp novel Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson, which explored racism and small town living in the American South, Bertrand Tavernier's existential musings also draws from Albert Camus's L'Étranger 1942 in which the alienated protagonist Meursault discovers killing to be an assertion of his own existence. Shot on location in Africa, Clean Slate makes extensive use of steadicam, introducing a voyeuristic atmosphere to its exquisite film noir styling.

Production still from At First Sight 1983 / Image courtesy: Studio Canal

At First Sight aka Between Us (Coup de Foudre aka Entre Nous) 1983 Ages 15+
12 noon Thursday 26 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 113 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: DIANE KURYS / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ALEXANDRE FILMS, FILMS A2, HACHETTE PREMIÈRE, PARTNER'S PRODUCTIONS, SOCIÉTÉ FRANÇAISE DE PRODUCTION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: CANAL PLUS IMAGE, FRANCE

At First Sight examines a close bond of friendship between two women that threatens the stability of their families. During the German occupation of France, Helena 'Lena' Weber (Isabelle Huppert), a Jewish refugee, escapes a concentration camp by marrying an ex-legionnaire who proposes to her at first sight. In the aftermath of war, Lena moves to Lyon, where she meets the confident and sophisticated artist Madeline (Miou-Miou), who has also escaped hardship by marrying a hustler. Both women are in unhappy marriages; Lena asks, 'What future is there for me?' As their friendship deepens they begin to exclude their husbands and children, discovering a genuine satisfaction with each other. Huppert gives a subtle performance as the unfulfilled Lena, drifting through life, isolated and silent. Based on the marital difficulties and life experiences of director Diana Kurys's mother, At First Sight is a sensitive and ultimately tragic story about the experience of love in postwar France.

Production still from Story of Women 1989 / Image courtesy: MK2 Diffusion

Story of Women (Une Affaire de Femmes) 1989 M
2.00pm Sunday 15 July / Cinema A, ticketed
6.00pm Wednesday 25 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 104 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CLAUDE CHABROL / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: MK2 PRODUCTIONS, FILMS A2, FILMS DU CAMÉLIA, SOFINERGIE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MK2 DIFFUSION, FRANCE

Story of Women is a sombre examination of abortion and capital punishment in the final years of Vichy France's collaboration with the Nazis (1940–44). Set near the German occupied area of Dieppe, director Claude Chabrol recounts the real life story of housewife and abortionist Marie-Jeanne Latour, one of the last three women to receive the death penalty under state tribunals. Marie-Jeanne stumbles into her profession through necessity and chance; struggling like many women in these years to feed her children, she finds an opportunity for income through the high demand for wartime abortions. Based on the novel by Francis Szpiner, Chabrol's screenplay refuses to justify or condemn Marie-Jeanne's actions, providing simply the circumstances and the consequences. Huppert is impenetrable, tough-minded and humourless in her role as Marie-Jeanne, profiting from the women she helps and indifferent to any accepted morality. For Chabrol, her show trial exposes the hypocritical moral climate of wartime France.

Production still from Madame Bovary 1991 / Image courtesy: MK2 Diffusion

Madame Bovary 1991 PG
12 noon Thursday 19 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 140 MINS, COLOUR, STEREO, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CLAUDE CHABROL / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CED PRODUCTIONS, CLUB DES INVESTISSMENTS, CONSEIL GENERAL DE L'EURE, CONSEIL RÉGIONAL DE HAUTE NORMANDIE, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA, MK2 PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MK2 DIFFUSION, FRANCE

Madame Bovary is Claude Chabrol's faithful adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's scandalous novel of 1856. Chabrol's screenplay mimics the clinical precision of Flaubert's dialogue and cinematographer Jean Rabier makes great use of location photography, shooting near Rouen where Flaubert lived. When Emma (Isabelle Huppert) marries the regional doctor Charles Bovary (Jean-Francois Balmer) to escape the boredom of rural life with her parents, she finds herself even more restless in marriage. Her desire is unleashed when she is introduced to the handsome Rodolphe Boulanger (Christopher Malavoy). A protracted affair follows. When Emma realises Boulanger's intentions are only fleeting, she is left to face the interminable consequences of her infidelities and irresponsible spending. Huppert gives a riveting performance as the poised and cold Emma Bovary, a tragic figure driven by a vague sense of passion to rebel against the conventions that stifle her. While we feel sympathy for her claustrophobia amid the expectations of France's provincial bourgeoisie, Emma remains a thoroughly dislikeable character.

Production still from The Separation 1994 / Image courtesy: Pathe Renn Productions

The Separation (La Séparation) 1991 PG
12.30pm Sunday 29 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 88 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CHRISTIAN VINCENT / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: PATHÉ RENN PRODUCTIONS, FRANCE 2 CINÉMA, DA FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/ RIGHTS: PRÉSIDENT FILMS, FRANCE

The Separation is a bittersweet drama about the loss and rejection Pierre (Daniel Auteuil) experiences when his wife, Anne (Isabelle Huppert), admits she has fallen in love with another man. As they sit in a movie theatre watching Roberto Rossellini's Europa '51 1952, we hear Ingrid Bergman surmise: 'We have changed our way of living'. Pierre's attempts to physically connect with Anne are repelled, the first indication that something is deeply wrong in their relationship. Based on the novel by Dan Franck, The Separation measures the misunderstandings and miscommunications of the estranged couple with a deeply felt realism. Christian Vincent's direction allows the gestures of a detached Anne and suffering Pierre to only hint at the pain and uncertainty both feel. The sense of loss is barely communicable — Anne struggles to make eye contact and Pierre clings desperately, rationalising the continuation of a broken partnership. The strength of this emotional dilemma lies in the lack of specific reasons for the infidelity; the film offers no simple resolution.

Production still from The Ceremony 1995 / Image courtesy: MK2 Diffusion

The Ceremony aka A Judgment in Stone (La Cérémonie) 1995 M
2.30pm Sunday 22 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 111 MINS, COLOUR, MONO, FRANCE/GERMANY, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CLAUDE CHABROL / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: MK2 PRODUCTIONS, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA, ZWEITES DEUTSCHES FERNSEHEN / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MK2 DIFFUSION, FRANCE

The Ceremony is a tense and unnerving thriller that takes its title from an expression used during the French Revolution to describe a prisoner's walk to the guillotine. Sophie Bonhomme (Sandrine Bonnaire) is an illiterate housekeeper hired by the upper-middle-class Lelièvre family who are unaware of her inability to read or write. Ashamed by her lack of education, Sophie begins an intimate friendship with the accepting Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), a troubled postal clerk who secretly reads the Lelièvres' mail. The women share dark pasts and their growing resentment of inequality leads to a drastic and violent outcome for the Lelièvre family. Ruth Rendell's novel A Judgment in Stone 1977 provides the narrative that Claude Chabrol and psychoanalyst co-writer Caroline Eliacheff interpret as an angry examination of class and sexual difference. Chabrol refuses to provide an explanation for the disturbing criminal behaviour and obsessions of both women. Chabrol jokingly asserted The Ceremony was the last Marxist film to deal with class struggle, and indeed the film's psychology of violence stems from personal, sexual and class-related tensions.

Production still from The King's Daughter 1999 / Image courtesy: Archipel 35, UGC International

The King's Daughter (Saint-Cyr) 1999 Ages 15+
2.00pm Saturday 28 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 119 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, FRANCE/GERMANY/BELGIUM, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PATRICIA MAZUY / PRODUCTION COMPANY: ARCHIPEL 35 / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: UNION GÉNÉRALE CINÉMATOGRAPHIQUE, FRANCE

Set at the end of the seventeenth century, Patricia Mazuy's costume drama reconstructs the life of Madame de Maintenon, a lowly courtesan who became the second and last wife of Louis XIV. Madame de Maintenon opens a finishing school for the daughters of nobility killed during battle, instilling through her tutelage a liberal education and the development of artistic skills. But when the rebellious Anne de Grandcamp (Morgan More) and Lucie de Fontenelle (Nina Meurisse) lead the performance of a moral fable by Jean Racine for the court, Madame de Maintenon foresees in their burgeoning sexuality a threat to her authority. She commits herself and the students to a destructive quest for religious purity, reflecting the impact of Jansenism on French culture at the time. Adapted from the novel La Maison d'Esther 1994 by Yves Dangerfield, The King's Daughter spent seven years in production and features impeccable production design by Thierry Francois and costumes by Edith Vesperini and Jean-Daniel Vuillermoz. As Madame de Maintenon, Isabelle Huppert is radiant alongside a cast of unknown young actresses.

Production still from Comedy of Innocence 2000 / Image courtesy: TF1 International

Comedy of Innocence (Comédie de l'innocence) 2000 Ages 15+
12.30pm Sunday 22 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 100 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: RAÚL RUIZ / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CANAL+, CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINÉMATOGRAPHIE, LES FILMS DU CAMÉLIA, MACT PRODUCTIONS, PROCIREP, TF1 INTERNATIONAL / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: TF1 INTERNATIONAL

Raúl Ruiz's psychological thriller, adapted from the novel The Boy with Two Mothers by Italian surrealist Massimo Bontempelli, explores fractured identities and bonds that unhinge a Parisian family. On his ninth birthday, Camille (Nils Hugon) asks his mother Ariane (Isabelle Huppert) if he can return to his 'real' home and mother, showing her a mysterious apartment interior on his new digital camera. Ariane indulges her son by visiting the apartment, finding the disarming Isabella (Jeanne Balibar), whose son died in a drowning accident. Isabella and Camille share a strange bond that causes both mothers to question whether Camille might be a physical embodiment of Isabella's dead son. Ruiz cleverly confuses expectations, introducing elements of biblical and mystical symbolism. He suggests that Comedy of Innocence is a 'film where explanations only deepen the mystery'.

Production still from La Pianiste 2001 / Image courtesy: MK2 Diffusion

La Pianiste aka The Piano Teacher (Die Klavierspielerin) 2001 R18+
8.00pm Friday 20 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 130 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, FRANCE/AUSTRIA, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MICHAEL HANEKE / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: MK2 PRODUCTIONS, LES FILMS ALAIN SARDE, LE STUDIO CANAL+, WEGA FILM, ARTE / PRINT SOURCE/ RIGHTS: LEVEL FOUR FILMS, AUSTRALIA

Based on the autobiographical novel Die Klavierspielerin 1983 by Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, La Pianiste is a harrowing drama about sexual dysfunction and the pursuit of romantic fulfilment. At the Vienna Academy, a destructive relationship develops between Walter Klemmer (Benoît Magimel), a handsome and arrogant student, and Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert), his indifferent and masochistic piano teacher. Erika presents a disciplined and repressed exterior in her daily life, broken by expressions of sexuality and cruelty she enacts upon students, strangers, her possessive mother and herself. Franz Schubert's song cycle 'Winterreise' (Winter journey) underlines Erika's coldness and desolation. Convinced that men confuse seduction for love, her final gesture is an astonishing and defiant statement. Huppert gives a restrained and clinical performance, which many have described as the most devastating and poignant of her career. Director and scriptwriter Michael Haneke tests the limits of empathy for Erika; her inner struggle with powerlessness and aggression is a difficult but ultimately rewarding experience.

Production still from The Promised Life 2001 / Image courtesy: Jean-Claude Lother, Exception Wild Bunch

The Promised Life aka The Ghost River (La Vie Promise) 2001 Ages 15+
12 noon Saturday 28 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 93 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: OLIVIER DAHAN / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: BAC FILMS, STUDIO CANAL, FRANCE 2 CINÉMA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: EXCEPTION WILD BUNCH, FRANCE

The Promised Life is a road movie that traces the disjointed journey of two drifters. Sylvia (Isabelle Huppert), a cold-hearted prostitute from Nice, is forced to reconcile with her traumatic past when Laurence, the estranged daughter she abandoned years earlier, reappears in her life. In a chance encounter, Laurence stabs Sylvia's merciless pimp, sending them both on a journey to Ghost River in search of refuge and Sylvia's former husband. Huppert delivers an extraordinary and understated performance. Almost unrecognisable with bleached hair, Huppert expresses the loneliness and vulnerability of Sylvia with a mournful introspection and dignity. Olivier Dahan's background in music videos is evident in the film's production design and editing, creating rhythmic montages that are at times distracting. Cinematographer Alex Lamargue's wide-screen travelogues through landscapes from Provence to the Rhône-Alpes regions are captivating.

Production from Deux

Two (Deux) 2002 Ages 18+
8.00pm Friday 27 July / Cinema A, ticketed
12 noon Thursday 2 August / Cinema B, ticketed

35MM, 121 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, FRANCE/GERMANY/PORTUGAL, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: WERNER SCHROETER / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: FRANCE 2 CINÉMA, GÉMINI FILMS, MADRAGOA FILMES, ROAD MOVIES FILMPRODUKTION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: GÉMINI FILMS, FRANCE

Part opera and part horror, Two is an ambitious and unsettling story about twin sisters Magdalena and Maria, both played by Isabelle Huppert in roles expressly written for her by Werner Schroeter. Maria has run away from boarding school to become a cabaret singer in Marseille. Magdalena, adopted by a well-to-do family, takes a job at a gallery in the Marais district of Paris. Separated at birth, the twins have never met but their subconscious connection draws them towards a violent reunion. Schroeter's narrative weaves together seemingly unconnected events in the lives of both sisters and estranged mother Anna (Bulle Ogier) and alternates between heightened realism and stylised fantasy. Two was Schroeter's first film after an eleven-year absence from filmmaking; it generated intense debate about its nonlinear narrative, radical imagery and the director's desire to infuse his own biography into the characters of both sisters.

Production still from Time of the Wolf 2003 / Image courtesy: Madman Entertainment

Time of the Wolf (Le Temps du Loup) 2003 MA15+
6.00pm Friday 20 July / Cinema A, ticketed
2.30pm Wednesday 25 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 110 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, FRANCE/AUSTRIA/GERMANY, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MICHAEL HANEKE / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ARTE, BAVARIA FILMS, CNC, EURIIMAGES, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA, LE STUDIO CANAL+, LES FILMS DU LOSANGE, WEGA FILM / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT, AUSTRALIA

Time of the Wolf is a post-apocalyptic drama set in the aftermath of an unidentified ecological disaster. Only the reproduction of an Albrecht Dürer watercolour seen towards the end of the film imagines the otherwise unseen catastrophic cause for the collapse of social order. Isabelle Huppert gives a focussed performance as Anne Laurent, a traumatised mother who becomes isolated with her children when a desperate act leads to an unexpected tragedy. Plunged into a nomadic existence, they take refuge in an abandoned train station where others have congregated in the hope of rescue. Michael Haneke never resorts to the spectacles of science fiction, instead crafting a rigid and slowly paced human drama that is both disquieting and melancholic. Shot without artificial light and mostly at night, Jürgen Jürges's cinematography creates a sharp and bleak realism, obscuring bodies and landscapes with twilight, deep fog and complete darkness. Often criticised for the startling pessimism and cruelty of his films, Haneke explores the story's brutality in a decidedly humanist mode. His social microcosm gestures both to a world that has died and, in its unforgettable finale, to a world that can be reborn.

Production still from My Mother 2004 / Image courtesy: Gemini Films

My Mother (Ma Mère) 2004 R18+
6.00pm Friday 27 July
/ Cinema A, ticketed
6.00pm Wednesday 1 August / Cinema B, ticketed

35MM, 110 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, FRANCE/PORTUGAL/AUSTRIA/SPAIN, FRENCH/SPANISH/GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CHRISTOPHE HONORÉ / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: MADRAGOA FILMES, CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINÉMATOGRAPHIE, AMOUR FOU FILMPRODUKTION, GÉMINI FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: GÉMINI FILMS, FRANCE

Georges Bataille's posthumous novel about the sexual initiation of a young man provides the structure for Christophe Honoré's powerful study of emotional dependency, shame and transgressive love. Honoré restages Bataille's story in the tourist haven of the Canary Islands, emblematic of the link between sexuality and consumption. Pierre (Louis Garrel), a moody and disaffected teenager, visits his affectionate but distant mother, Hélène (Isabelle Huppert), whose unabashed sexual behaviour challenges his ideas of religion and sexuality. When Pierre's father dies unexpectedly in a car accident, the sexual tension between mother and son crystalises into a dangerous acknowledgment of their desires, leading ultimately to death. Huppert is cold and fiercely guarded as Hélène, a challenging role that she avoids reducing to pathology. Honoré, himself a writer, fleshes out Bataille's unfinished manuscript with references to contemporaries such as Dennis Cooper, Don Delillo and Sarah Kane. He refrains from moralising and from eroticising the subjects of his film. Following Bataille, he understands the eye can be a space of both terror and insurmountable joy.

Production still from Gabrielle 2005 / Image courtesy: Connaissance du Cinema

Gabrielle 2005 Ages 15+
2.30pm Sunday 29 July / Cinema A, ticketed
2.00pm Wednesday 1 August / Cinema B, ticketed

35MM, 90 MINS, COLOUR AND B. & W., DOLBY DIGITAL, GERMANY/FRANCE/ITALY, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PATRICE CHÉREAU / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: AZOR FILMS, ARTE FRANCE CINÉMA, STUDIO CANAL, LOVE STREAMS PRODUCTIONS, ALBACHIARA S.P.A., NETWORK MOVIE FILM-UND FERNSEHPRODUKTION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: CONNAISSANCE DU CINÉMA, PARIS

Set in Belle Époque Paris in 1912, Gabrielle is a reflective drama about the dissolution of a loveless marriage. When the wealthy and self-satisfied Jean Hervey (Pascal Greggory) returns home from work early, he finds a note from his wife Gabrielle (Isabelle Huppert) revealing her intentions to leave him for another man. When Gabrielle returns hoping to dispose of the letter before it is read, Jean suffers a humiliation worse than death. Both are forced to examine the failures of their marriage and assess whether they can resume their veneer of happiness. Adapted from Joseph Conrad's novella The Return 1897, which writer and director Patrice Chéreau interprets as an extraordinary dialogue between deaf interlocutors, Gabrielle switches between different modes of storytelling, using intertitles to articulate the unspoken thoughts of characters. Eric Gautier's cinematography captures the rich settings and costumes with alternating colour and black-and-white sequences. The marital drama features strong performances by Greggory as a dishevelled man consumed by rage and despair, and Huppert as the graceful wife with a calm and resolute strength.

Production still from Private Property 2006 / Image courtesy: Film Distribution

Private Property (Nue Propriété) 2006 Ages 15+
6.00pm Friday 13 July / Cinema A, ticketed
2.30pm Wednesday 18 July / Cinema A, ticketed

35MM, 105 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, BELGIUM/FRANCE/LUXEMBURG, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JOACHIM LAFOSSE / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: TARANTULA, MACT PRODUCTIONS, RADIO TÉLÉVISION BELGE FRANCOPHONE / PRINT SOURCE: NEW YORKER FILMS, USA / RIGHTS: FILM DISTRIBUTION, FRANCE

Private Property is a gripping family drama about the psychology of separation and familial expectations. The French title refers to the legal term denoting ownership of property without benefit. Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) is a divorced mother longing to begin a new life with lover Jan (Kris Cuppens). When she decides to sell the family home, left as an asset by her ex-husband, family tension mounts and her relationship with sons Thierry and François begins to fracture. Real-life brothers Jérémie Rénier and Yannick Rénier play the emotionally and financially dependent twins, one instinctive and rebellious, the other sensitive and withdrawn. Cinematographer Hichame Alaouie views the domestic scenes from fixed points, giving the viewer a sense of bearing witness to the family's private dramas. Huppert delivers a powerful performance as a mother desperate to escape the confines of a dysfunctional family structure and the titular property that renders happiness and a new life impossible.

LECTURE

Isabelle Huppert as monstrous-feminine
1.00–2.00pm Saturday 14 July / Cinema A

Acclaimed author of The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis 1993, Professor Barbara Creed, discusses the extraordinary range of characters that Isabelle Huppert has inhabited over the course of her career.