By Angela Matano
There’s a certain je ne sais quoi — a nonchalance if you will — that comes with Frenchness, or at least American perception of Frenchness. Truth be told, that air of Frankly-my-dear-I-don’t-give-a-damn-ness is a quality everyone else in the world yearns for. It’s not indifference exactly, but a deep abiding confidence … or at least that’s how it comes across.
Two movies epitomizing Parisian chic, “Breathless” and “Band of Outsiders,” screen this Saturday at that indomitable Santa Monica institution, The Aero Theatre. The double feature can be taken together or individually, providing an adequate dosage of swank — much like the flu shot, a yearly French film viewing does the trick. Both shrug their way toward being crime films, but in the most modest way possible. The important take away is their ineluctable style.
Directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, both pictures sneak up on you, kind of tapping you on the shoulder from behind. Anti-establishment, anti-almost everything, the director’s early-sixties point of view captures a restless youthful ennui that persists to this day. A frustration with what came before that finds some respite in music, cinema and a cigarette. Check out actress Jean Seberg in her marinière (stripy shirt) and cropped hair — just as au courant today as ever. Ce flick est en fleek.
If you haven’t made an effort to check out The Aero Theatre, do. The programming at The American Cinematheque (there is also the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood) bursts with cinematic gems that are honest-to-God worth the trek to see on the big screen. Classics and newer choices await, often with special guests, and family-friendly picks, like the recently screened “E.T.,” only underscore the emotional gulf that exists between watching things at home versus the irresistible communal experience.
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