The IFI is full of festive cheer with a season of musicals and popular classics this December including West Side Story, Les Enfants du Paradis, Meet Me in St. Louis, Amélie, La Piscine, and An American in Paris. Whether you are going on a seasonal outing with friends and family or beating a hasty retreat from the shops, there’s a warming selection of musicals and nostalgic classics to look forward to this December at the IFI. It is 50 years since Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins West Side Story (3rd & 4th Dec ) hit the cinemas for the first time.
The IFI are showing a newly restored version of this iconic broadway take on Romeo and Juliet. Featuring some of the best-know musical hits of all time such as ‘Maria’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Somewhere,’ it’s the perfect romantic treat for a cold December night. There’s more classic musical numbers in a two part tribute to one of the masters of the genre Vincent Minnelli. ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas…’ sings Judy Garland at the start of Meet me in St. Louis as she ponders her family’s imminent upheaval to New York in a tender and witty expression of nostalgia for an easier, gentler way of American life.
This is followed by An American in Paris ( 27th-30th Dec), Minnelli’s Gershwin-based musical which features a dazzling Gene Kelly as an aspiring artist in Paris who becomes tangled in the city’s romantic web – one of the creative pinnacles of the genre and a must see. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s wonderfully quirky and irresistibly enchanting Amélie (17th & 18th Dec) makes a welcome return to the big screen 10 years after it made a star of the adorable Audrey Tautou. Jeunet’s Paris is probably the most fairytale-perfect depiction of the city ever committed to celluloid and the film remains as heartwarming as ever.
Director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert’s Les Enfants du Paradis (23rd& 27th-31st Dec) is a sublime romance that regularly features on all-time-best lists. This portrait of the Boulevard du Crime in the early 19th century was miraculously made during the Nazi Occupation of France. It’s a rich and wonderful tale of professional and personal rivalries, murky intrigue and unrequited passion. Not just a master-class in great acting but an achievement on every front, from the superb cinematography and sets to Carné’s deft elaboration of the genius of Prévert’s script.
Erotically charged and psychologically astute, Jacques Deray’s La Piscine (10th and 11th Dec ) is a meticulously crafted and underrated 1969 crime drama that deserves to be far better known than it is now. A couple (Romy Schneider and Alain Delon) are staying in a villa above San Tropez when their tranquillity is disturbed by the arrival of playboy friend (Maurice Ronet) and a beautiful girl he claims is his sister (Jane Birkin). As the sizzling, languid, pleasure-seeking atmosphere turns steadily more fetid, deciets, secrets and suspicions pile up making for a tense compelling study of human foibles.
Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or www.ifi.ie/french2011