Film Series – 50 Years French-German Friendship

Friendship Begins with the Stomach (c) Paolo Calleri

Friendship Begins with the Stomach (c) Paolo Calleri

Though it kicked off last Monday, May 8th seemed like a more appropriate day to write about a Franco-German film series happening in D.C. over the next few months…

50 years after Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle signed the Élysée Treaty, establishing the foundation for German-French friendship and cooperation, l’Alliance Française and the Goethe-Institut are celebrating this post-war reconciliation with a film festival showcasing films that were created through collaborations between filmmakers and actors in the two countries.

The series kicked off on May 6th with the screening of Truffaut’s classic Jules and Jim. Set between 1912 and 1933, it tells the story of two kindred spirits, shy Austrian Jules and extroverted Frenchman Jim, their friendship and love triangle with the beautiful Catherine. The next feature is César et Rosalie, a romantic drama starring French leading man Yves Montand and German actress Romy Schneider (who will always just be Sissy to me!) That screening takes place at the Goethe-Institut Monday May 13th, at 6:30PM. Skip to Monday, June 3rd (6:30PM at the Goethe-Institut) with Swann in love, a Franco-German film based on Proust’s novel, starring an all-European cast (Brit Jeremy Iron, French Alain Delon, Italian Ornella Muti) and directed by German Volker Schlöndorff. A true example of post-war cooperation 😉

Cesar et Rosalie

The next film is about one of my favourite topic: football! Let’s face it, the reason European soccer rivalries are so intense is partly because we have such a long history of fighting each others in national conflicts.  Refait / Real Scene Paris /Real Scene Berlin is a 15 minute short film that carefully reconstructs the last 15 minutes of the 1982 World Cup soccer match between France and Germany in Seville, Spain in all its intensity, drama etc. It will be shown Friday June 21st at 7PM at l’Alliance Française.

The next two screenings are two of my favourite French films: Au Revoir les Enfants (Monday, June 24th, 6:30PM, Goethe-Institut) and Merry Christmas (Monday, July 1, 6:30PM, Goethe-Institut). The first takes place during World War 2 and the second during World War 1. Both deal with individual putting themselves at risk to help another human being or their fellow men. In Louis Malle’s deeply moving, semi autobiographical masterpiece Au Revoir les Enfants, it’s a catholic school headmaster who shelters and hides a Jewish boy. In Joyeux Noel, it’s French, German and British soldiers, enemies locked into a miserable stalemate against one another, who put aside their differences just long enough to celebrate Christmas together on the trenches, December 24, 1914.


The last film is a documentary, France-Allemagne: une histoire presque commune, that trace the chronology of friendship between France and German from the early 60s, when the Élysée Treaty was signed to today through a series of vignettes. They focus on the various heads of state, working together over the years: De Gaulle and Adenauer (“Reconciliation”), d’Estain and Schmidt (“They Both Loved”), Mitterand and Kohl (“The Sense of History”), Chirac and Schröder (“The Sense of History”) and Sarkozy and Merkel (“Dead Ringers”). The documentary will be shown at l’Alliance Française July 12, at 7PM. 

Tickets for the screenings cost between $4-$8 and can be bought in advance (here for screenings at the Goethe-Institut, I’ll update the post once I have information about tickets for the screenings at l’Alliance Française.)

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