Il pleut des hommes: It’s raining men at this year’s Alliance Fran’ÛÎ_aise Film Retrospective

Film-lovers and francophiles alike are in luck this year as the Alliance Fran’ÛÎ_aise de Chicago launches its third annual film retrospective series.

This year’s theme features “Les beaux, les moches et les m’ÛΩchants” (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). The leading men of French cinema, including Jean Dujardin, took home an Oscar in 2011 for his lead performance in “The Artist”.

The series debuted Wednesday Sept. 19 with “A Bout de Souffle” (Breathless) by Jean-Luc Godard, starring actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The 10 films of the series, shown once a month from September through June, were chosen by a group of Alliance Fran’ÛÎ_aise staff members and a few outside consultants well versed in French cinema.

“We tried to make it a balance between comedies and dramas and we decided to build an arc going generally from old to new,” said director of programs Aim’ÛΩe Laberge.

“Funny enough we both start and end in black and white, finishing the series with ‘The Artist’ from 2011,” said Laberge.

The events are intimate and casual, beginning with a short reception that includes a glass of French wine, followed by a screening of the movie and concluding with a short discussion of the film led by a guest speaker.

“Of course you can see most of these films on Netflix or something like that, alone at home,” said Laberge. “But at the Alliance, we can get a group of people together, you can have a glass of wine and we bring in an expert to explain the films – so it’s a complete experience.”

The films are shown in their original French language with English subtitles and the program, including the guest speaker, is presented in English.

“French films are good for people who are interested in French culture but don’t know the language,” said Laberge. “There are subtitles, so they are able to understand the films and appreciate French culture in that way.”

Admission to the events is $7, which includes a glass of wine for those over 21. The events take place at the Alliance Fran’ÛÎ_aise at the 54 Chicago Ave. entrance, less than a block from the Chicago red line stop.

The next event will be Oct. 24 with “La travers’ÛΩe de Paris” (Four Bags Full) by filmmaker Claude Autant-Lara, featuring actors Jean Gabin and Bourvil, and film director and guest speaker Chris Buddy.

For a full schedule of events visit www.af-chicago.orgor call 312-337-1070.