Golden Anniversaries, which is co-presented by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and the St. Louis Public Library, features classic films celebrating their 50th anniversaries. This third edition of the event will highlight 14 films from 1970, including two double bills.

Because in-person screenings remain problematic during the pandemic, Cinema St. Louis will hold free online conversations on the films, with people watching the films on their own but gathering virtually to discuss them.

Film critics, film academics, and filmmakers will offer introductory remarks and then participate in discussions about the films. Those conversations will be offered as free live streams at 7:30 PM every Monday from Aug. 10-Oct. 26. Participants will need to register for the live streams on the CSL website.

Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Donald Sutherland in “M*A*S*H”

In addition to a fine selection of St. Louis critics, Golden Anniversaries will feature a quartet of experts from elsewhere, including David Edelstein, chief film critic of New York magazine (“M*A*S*H” on Aug. 10); AJ Schnack, director of such documentaries as “Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns),” “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” “We Always Lie to Strangers,” and the recent “Long Gone Summer” (double bill of “Gimme Shelter” and “Woodstock” on Sept. 7); Charles Taylor, author of “Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s” (“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” on Sept. 21); and Novotny Lawrence, author of “Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre” (double bill of “Cotton Comes to Harlem” and “The Watermelon Man” on Sept. 28).

The discussions with the presenters will be facilitated by Cliff Froehlich, CSL’s executive director. Audience members will be able to ask questions and make observations on the films through the chat function of the live stream; those queries and comments will be relayed to the presenter by CSL.

The introductions and discussions will also be recorded and archived on CSL’s YouTube channel. Essays on many of the films will appear on The Lens, CSL’s blog.

For more information, please visit cinemastlouis.org/golden-anniversaries.

Husbands

FILMS

For full info on films, see CSL’s website.

7:30 PM Monday, Aug. 10

M*A*S*H

Robert Altman, U.S., 1970, 116 min.

Intro and discussion by David Edelstein, chief film critic for New York magazine (currently on furlough), commentator on “CBS Sunday Morning,” and former film critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Slate, New York Post, Village Voice, and Boston Phoenix.

7:30 PM Monday, Aug. 17

Patton

Franklin J. Schaffner, U.S., 1970, 172 min.

Intro and discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ blog, The Lens.

7:30 PM Monday, Aug. 24

Husbands

John Cassavetes, U.S., 1970, 131 min.

Intro and discussion by Lynn Venhaus, film critic for the Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS (550 AM).

7:30 PM Monday, Aug. 31

The Conformist

Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, 1970, 113 min., Italian

Intro and discussion by Diane Carson, professor emerita of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic for KDHX (88.1 FM).

7:30 PM Monday, Sept. 7

Gimme Shelter

Albert Maysles, David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin, U.S., 1970, 91 min.

Woodstock: The Director’s Cut

Michael Wadleigh, U.S., 1970, 224 min.

Intro and discussion by AJ Schnack, director of the documentaries “Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns),” “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” “We Always Lie to Strangers,” and “Long Gone Summer.”

7:30 PM Monday, Sept. 14

Claire’s Knee

Eric Rohmer, France, 1970, 105 min., French

Intro and discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney and former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog.

7:30 PM Monday, Sept. 21

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Russ Meyer, U.S., 1970, 109 min.

Intro and discussion by Charles Taylor, author of “Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s” and former film critic for Salon.

7:30 PM Monday, Sept. 28

Cotton Comes to Harlem

Cotton Comes to Harlem

Ossie Davis, U.S., 1970, 97 min.

The Watermelon Man

Melvin van Peebles, U.S., 1970, 100 min.

Intro and discussion by Novotny Lawrence, associate professor at Iowa State University, author of “Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre,” editor of “Documenting the Black Experience,” and co-editor of “Beyond Blaxploitation.”

7:30 PM Monday, Oct. 5

Five Easy Pieces

Bob Rafelson, U.S., 1970, 98 min.

Intro and discussion by Calvin Wilson, theater critic and former film critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

7:30 PM Monday, Oct. 12

The Traveling Executioner

Jack Smight, U.S., 1970, 95 min.

Intro and discussion by Kayla McCulloch, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ blog, The Lens.

7:30 PM Monday, Oct. 19

Wanda

Barbara Loden, U.S., 1970, 102 min.

Intro and discussion by Cait Lore, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ blog, The Lens.

7:30 PM Monday, Oct. 26

Performance

Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg, U.K., 1970, 105 min.

Intro and discussion by Robert Hunt, former film critic for The Riverfront Times.

Woodstock: The Director’s Cut

The 12th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — presented by TV5MONDE, sponsored by the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, and produced by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s extraordinary cinematic legacy. 

Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, the fest will be presented virtually this year. CSL is partnering with Eventive, which also handles our ticketing, to present the Virtual Festival. Filmswill be available to view on demand anytime from July 17-23. Access to programs is limited to Missouri and Illinois. Once a ticket-holder begins watching a program, access to it remains available for 24 hours. 

Regrettably, streaming rights to most of the films we planned to feature at the 2020 Robert Classic French Film Festival were not available to us. But CSL is pleased that we’re able to offer a trio of works from the original lineup: Marguerite Duras’ rarely seen “India Song”; a new restoration of Jacqueline Audry’s “Olivia”; and René Clément’s “Rider on the Rain,” which is part of our year-long Golden Anniversaries programming that features films from 1970. All films are in French with English subtitles.

Although the films will be presented virtually, the programs will still feature recorded introductions by and post-film discussions with film or French scholars and critics. 

TV5MONDE serves as the fest’s presenting sponsor, and the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor. The fest’s other sponsors are the Alliance Française de Saint Louis, American Association of Teachers of French,Arts & Education Council, Centre Francophone at Webster University, Les Amis, Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission, Washington University’s Film & Media Studies, and Webster University Film Series.

Films

Olivia 1951

Olivia

Jacqueline Audry, 1951, 96 min., B&W, new restoration

A remarkable work by Jacqueline Audry (1908-77), one of France’s groundbreaking female filmmakers, “Olivia” deserves rediscovery after being neglected for almost 70 years. Plunging the viewer — and the main character — into a true lion’s den, Audry depicts a 19th-century boarding school for young girls. The two mistresses of the house, Miss Julie (Edwige Feuillere) and Miss Cara (Simone Simon), are engaged in a turf war — and a war of the heart. Competing for the affections of their students, they rouse passion, hatred, and unexpected reversals of loyalties. Although “Olivia” does not address female homosexuality directly, the film sensitively explores the students’ discovery of love and attraction. With an introduction and post-film discussion by Cait Lore, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens.

India Song 1975

India Song

Marguerite Duras, 1975, 120 min., color

Associated with both the nouveau roman literary and the Left Bank film movements, Marguerite Duras was a versatile polymath who worked as a novelist, playwright, essayist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and film director. From a cinematic perspective, Duras’ best-known work is her screenplay for Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima, mon amour,” but she also directed more than a dozen of her own features. Because Duras’ films remain difficult to access in the U.S., the Classic French Film Festival is especially pleased to offer what many consider her masterpiece, “India Song.” Based on an unproduced play that adapted her novel “Le Vice-consul,” the film chronicles the discontent of the wife (Delphine Seyrig) of the French ambassador in 1930s India. Bored with her oppressive lifestyle, she compulsively sleeps with a series of men but refuses the advances of the entranced vice-consul of Lahore (Michael Lonsdale). With an introduction and post-film discussion by Jean-Louis Pautrot, professor of French and international studies at Saint Louis University.

Rider on the Rain 1970

Rider on the Rain/La Passager de La Pluie

René Clément, 1970, 118 min., color

René Clément — the legendary director of “Forbidden Games” and “Purple Noon” — delivers a stylish thriller starring screen legend Charles Bronson. When a beautiful young woman (Marlène Jobert) in the South of France is stalked and then assaulted by a mysterious masked assailant, she kills the man in self-defense and, in a moment of misjudgment, dumps his corpse over a cliff into the sea instead of calling the police. Trying to return to her life before the attack, her world is turned upside down when an American investigator (Bronson) shows up and, to her horror, seems to know everything about what she has done. “Rider on the Rain” is presented in the 118-minute French-language cut. With an introduction and post-film discussion by Tom Stockman, editor of the We Are Movie Geeks website.