Sunday, April 21, 2013

Trans-Europ-Express (1967)

WHO: Jean-Louis Trintignant stars in this film directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet

WHAT: Probably one of Trintignant's strangest roles, or at least one of his strangest films, is this self-reflexive mystery deconstruction directed by the screenwriter of Last Year in Marienbad. Here's what Robbe-Grillet had to say about casting Trintignant in an interview with Anthony N. Fragola published in his book The Erotic Dream Machine:
When the director chooses an actor, he bases his selection on what the actor will do. I had seen a number of films with Trintignant, and I knew he was an actor whose humor would be consistent with my concept for the film. And indeed it was. 
WHERE/WHEN: Screens 3PM this afternoon at the Pacific Film Archive

WHY: This afternoon's screening rounds off the PFA's Trintignant series, which I've written on twice before. Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy screens this Wednesday to close off the regular Spring programming at the theatre. From Friday until May 9th it becomes a venue for the San Francisco International Film Festival. Then, after a one-night student showcase, the PFA closes for a semester-end break, to reopen in June.

But we're already learning some of what we can expect to screen at the PFA this summer. There's a June 16-August 25th a Studio Ghibli series that sounds like it may be more complete than the ones that happened at the California and Bridge last fall, if only because it'll include Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro's current release From Up On Poppy Hill. Most prints will be in the original Japanese with English subtitles. I'm hoping Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies, missing from the fall retros, is included, as I've never seen it.

There's also an in-person appearance by editor Sam Pollard (rescheduled from a trip cancelled due to last November's East Coast storms) in which he'll be on hand June 27th to discuss editing the documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks and June 29th to discuss editing the feature film Clockers.

Between July 5 and August 10 a much-anticipated (at least by me) Raoul Walsh retrospective takes us from silents like the 1915 gangster film Regeneration and the 1926 war comedy-drama hybrid What Price Glory? to a remarkable early widescreen experiment with John Wayne called The Big Trail, to post-World War II classics like Pursued (starring Robert Mitchum) and White Heat (starring James Cagney).

Finally. August 16-31 brings a Berkeley reprise of the nine 1920s Hitchcock films that are set to make their US premiere at the Castro thanks to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in June.

HOW: Trans-Europ-Express screens from an imported 35mm print from Institut Français.


  1. I regret missing TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS this afternoon, but I just had to. And I'm excited about a Raoul Walsh retrospective--long overdue! I think the last one at PFA was in 1987.
    Frako Loden

  2. I'm just hoping not too many key titles will be programmed during the Silent Film Festival. That would be a good weekend for a lot of screenings of the Ghibli titles I caught last year.

  3. Frako and Brian: Steve Seid said he wouldn't be programming any silent Walshes opposite the other silents at the Castro, at least.

  4. I'm rooting for The Big Trail and Pursued to screen that weekend, as they're the only Walsh films they've confirmed to be showing that I've seen before in 35mm.