Thursday, March 28, 2013

Le Combat Dans L’ile (1962)

WHO: Alain Cavalier directed this.

WHAT: Though most books on French film history don't include his name in their indexes, Cavalier is a director of the same generation as the French New Wave filmmakers who has quietly built a career that continues still. This film, his first feature, is also known as Fire And Ice, and stars Romy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a couple whose marriage is threatened by a secret. I'd say more but that would mean having to read more about the film, and I already feel I've read a little too much considering I hope to see it myself for the first time tonight.

WHERE/WHEN: 9:00 tonight only at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.

WHY: Perhaps you, like I, missed this film when it screened as part of a PFA retrospective devoted to Cavalier a few years back. Thankfully, retrospectives devoted to directors are not the only kind mounted by the Berkeley venue even if they're the most numerous. Over the next few weeks a tribute to actor Jean-Louis Trintignant continues to alternate with ongoing explorations of directors Alfred HitchcockWerner SchroeterJean Rouch, and, starting tomorrow, Spain's classic comedy maestro Luis García Berlanga. I've already written about how the Trintignant series provides opportunities to see great work made by great directors, but tonight's program reminds me how an actor-centric retrospective can be a way to catch up with films shown in director retros I may have missed, as well as providing chances to sample films made by directors who haven't received a retrospective there yet, like Dino Risi (whose Il Sorpasso also screens tonight) or Claude Lelouch (whose A Man and a Woman appears this Saturday).

HOW: 35mm print.


  1. This was I recall one of several older French films that got lost in the shuffle of US distribution upon opening, and which were recently given an official New York release. Another is Rialto Pictures' Max Et Les Ferrailleurs, done by Sautet in the 70s, Since Rialto made only $35,000 on it they may not want to bring it out here but maybe the PFA, as it did with Fire And Ice, will come to the rescue.

  2. Here's hoping! I'd certainly be pleased to see a Michel Piccoli or Romy Schneider retrospective at the venue...

  3. At the Bleecker when I started working there in 1976 we had a lady patron who brought the staff and select customers her homemade cake every time we showed a Piccoli. Needless to say, we encouraged the programmers to book his films often!