The Film Society has been the freemasons of film screenings, the best kept secret in local cinematic adventures. Over the years, they have treated Montreal cinephiles with a taste of celluloid Nirvana. Creating events across the island, building up through word of mouth, they have been presenting us with special screenings of amazing prints of the rarest most intriguing finds in cinema history. Film Society founder Philippe Spurrell says:
“Most of what has screened at The Film Society events cannot be seen elsewhere in any other venue in the city or at least could not have been experienced in quite the same way. We offer a movie-lover’s paradise that allows the spectator to participate in discussions and learn about film history. These are more than screenings. These are events incorporating genuine motion picture film. The “reel” thing!”
Having previously presented works by David Lean and Ken Russell for example, they use a variety of sources and always surprise us with their choices of events. The variety is splendid and the guest speakers never underwhelm. Their upcoming event, this Saturday night, September 25th, at 8pm, they return to Montreal's favorite new rep house and Film Society's current home, Blue Sunshine. This time they will be screening the classic La Tete Contre Les Murs (1959), Georges Franju's first feature-length film, rarely seen or heard of this side of the Atlantic.
Starring the famous French actress Anouk Aimee, and a surprisingly touching and tragic role by a young Charles Aznavour, this drama predates Franju's best known film, the bizarre morality tale/horror film, Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960). Also predating classic escape-from-mental-hospital films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), La Tete Contre Les Murs follows the young Francois as his father sends him to a mental institution in order to get rid of him, only to attempt to bust out from the bizarre hospital that seems to prefer "traditional" treatments over therapy. Very different from Franju's later work, this talkative and heavy drama is more likened to early French New Wave cinema, such as early Truffaut films, as opposed to the later Godards of splash colors and snappy dialogue.
Agree or disagree? Have you even ever heard of this film, let alone attempt to find it anywhere? Remember to leave comments and to subscribe for upcoming events. The Film Society is gearing up for more events, as well as the return of Grindhouse Wednesdays, to its original home to boot, as well as classic films being shown at Cinema ScotiaBank. Stay tunes and keep those cameras rolling.