Aug. 20-22 and 27-29: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.

Tickets/Passes: Tickets are $14 for general admission; $11 for students and Cinema St. Louis members. Two types of passes are available: Five-Film Passes are $60, $45 for CSL members; All-Access Passes are $100, $80 for CSL members. Passes and advance tickets can be purchased through the Cinema St. Louis website. More Info: 314-289-4150, cinemastlouis.org

The 13th 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, offering a revealing overview of French cinema.

The Robert Classic French Film Festival is the first CSL in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic. The host venues — Washington University on Aug. 13-15 and Webster University on Aug. 20-22 and 27-29 — have not yet determined whether capacity limits or masks will be required. Details will be announced on the CSL website when available.

The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features a quintet of such works: Melvin Van Peebles’ “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” Diane Kurys’ “Entre Nous,” Joseph Losey’s “Mr. Klein,” Jacques Deray’s “La piscine,” and the extended director’s cut of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s “Betty Blue.”

The fest also provides one of the few opportunities available in St. Louis to see films projected the old-school, time-honored way, with Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” screening from a 35mm print.

As part of CSL’s year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries, the fest includes a pair of films from 1971: François Truffaut’s “Two English Girls” and Claude Jutra’s French-Canadian “Mon oncle Antoine.”

Completing the fest is a pandemic-delayed tribute to the late Anna Karina, who died in December 2019: Jean-Luc Godard’s essential “Vivre sa vie.”

Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics.

All films are in French with English subtitles (“The Story of a Three-Day Pass” is in both English & French).

TV5MONDE serves as the fest’s presenting sponsor, and the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor.

Schedule

For film synopses,  see the CSL website

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 13, WASHINGTON U.

Mon oncle Antoine

Claude Jutra, Canada, 1971, 104 min., color, DCP

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Lionel Cuillé, teaching professor in French and director of the cultural center French ConneXions at Washington University.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 14, WASHINGTON U.

Entre Nous/Coup de foudre

Diane Kurys, France, 1983, 110 min., color, new restoration, DCP

Entre Nous

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Colin Burnett, associate professor of Film & Media Studies at Washington U. and author of “The Invention of Robert Bresson: The Auteur and His Market.”

7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 15, WASHINGTON U.

Mr. Klein

Joseph Losey, France, 1976, 123 min., color, new restoration, DCP

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pier Marton, video artist, self-described “Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media,” and former instructor at several leading U.S. universities.

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 20, WEBSTER U.

The Story of a Three-Day Pass/La permission

Melvin van Peebles, France/U.S., 1967, B&W, 86 min., English & French, new restoration, MP4 file

With an introduction and post-film 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 SATURDAY, AUG. 21, WEBSTER U.

Vagabond/Sans toit ni loi

Agnès Varda, France, 1985, 105 min., color, 35mm print

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Kathy Corley, documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of film at Webster University.

6:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 22, WEBSTER U.

Betty Blue

Jean-Jacques Beineix, France, 1986, 185 min., color, new restoration of extended director’s cut, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens and the Gateway Cinephile film blog.

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 27, WEBSTER U.

Vivre sa vie/Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux

Jean-Luc Godard, 1962, 83 min., B&W, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pete Timmermann, director of the Webster U. Film Series and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster U.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 28, WEBSTER U.

La piscine

Jacques Deray, 1969, France, 122 min., color, new restoration, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Calvin Wilson, theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who also writes on film, dance, and music.

7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 29, WEBSTER U.

Two English Girls/Les deux Anglaises et le continent

François Truffaut, 1971, France, 130 min., color, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, board member of the French-preservation nonprofit Les Amis, and former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) has announced the debut of a partnership with Kino Lorber to present a film series curated by a number of esteemed female film journalists and critics under the new “AWFJ Presents” banner on Kino Lorber’s digital platform KinoMarquee. Selected by a curatorial team of AWFJ members from Kino Lorber’s vast catalog of hundreds of important titles, the inaugural selections include six exceptionally entertaining and relevant films by women directors.
 
Each film on the AWFJ Presents slate will be available for rent on the KinoMarquee streaming platform under the AWFJ Presents banner. In addition, a pre-recorded, 20-minute discussion of each film by members of AWFJ’s curatorial team can be found on AWFJ’s YouTube channel. The revenue from the sale of every series pass will be shared with the AWJF, supporting the important work that they do.  
 
Jennifer Merin, AWFJ president, said, “The alliance is very proud to partner with Kino Lorber for our inaugural ‘AWFJ Presents’ series to highlight some truly outstanding films by some of the world’s finest women directors. The films tell stories that are true to women’s experiences and represent women’s perspectives, but have universal appeal. We are also beyond appreciative of their enthusiasm and generosity regarding this partnership.”
 
Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell, added, “It is as important to increase the number and presence of female film critics as it is to increase the presence of women filmmakers – in fact the two go hand in hand.  Which is why we are especially gratified to be partnering with AWJF on this initiative to present just a sampling of our deep catalog of great films by women.”  
 
The international slate of films covers a variety of genres—comedy, horror, drama, contemporary, period. They are all finely crafted, original, and entertaining. And, they created passionate debate among the curators who chose them from the 161 female-helmed films in Kino Lorber’s catalog.

Between the Lines

WFJ Presents inaugural selections

Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang (2015)
Diane Kurys’ Peppermint Soda (1977)
Caroline Link’s Nowhere in Africa (2001)
Joan Micklin Silver’s Between the Lines (1977) 

The “AWFJ Presents” curators are an international consortium of well-respected film critics: Ulkar Alakbarova, Margaret Barton-Fumo, Betsy Bozdech, Sandie Angulo Chen, Leslie Combemale, Marilyn Ferdinand, Pam Grady, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Jennifer Merin, Kristen Page-Kirby, Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, and Susan Wloszczyna.
 
The cost to stream films individually is $8, or viewers can buy a pass to the whole series for $30. Contact [email protected] for more information.
 
About AWFJ
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Inc. (AWFJ) in a not-for-profit charitable organization found in New York State in 2006 whose purpose is to amplify the voices of women critics, provide a platform for the expression of women’s perspectives on film, and support work by and about women—both in front of and behind the cameras—through intragroup promotional activities, outreach programs and presentation of EDA Awards at year’s end and at film festivals throughout the year. AWFJ publishes an average of 22 reviews, interviews and news items weekly, including our Movie of the Week feature, and distributes two weekly eNewsletters, in addition to keeping an active and interactive record of fiction feature and documentary films by and/or about women, and/or of particular interest to women because they focus on women’s issues. Articles, eNewsletter subscription sign ups and lists are made available to the general public on our website (awfj.org).
 
About Kino Lorber
With a library of over 4,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 35 years, releasing 30 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Repertory and Alive Mind Cinema banners, garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. In addition, the company brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Cohen Media Group, Greenwich Entertainment, Artsploitation, Palisades Tartan, Menemsha Films, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer channels, as well as direct digital distribution through over 40 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its new art house digital channel Kino Now which features over 1000 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kino Marquee initiative was launched in 2020 pioneering “virtual theatrical” releases of art house films with revenue shares that allows audiences to support almost 400 local independent theaters.

Cover photo of “Peppermint Soda”

Note: Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis-based film critic and professional writer-editor, is a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. She is the founder of PopLifeSTL.com, in addition to writing reviews for Webster-Kirkwood Times and reviewing movies for KTRS Radio.