French Movie Nights is ending their year with The Return of the Hero, starring Jean Dujardin and Mélanie Laurent, on June 7 at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck, NY. The monthly rendezvous will begin again on September 20, bringing a fresh look on French cinema and its place in American society.
Created in 2016 by Carina de Naurois, the monthly screenings project highly-acclaimed French films, ranging from classic movie César et Rosalie with Romy Schneider and Yves Montand to contemporary thriller Jusqu’à la Garde. “I thought there was a lack of cultural reunion,” outlines the founder of the project. “A monthly rendezvous is not the same as a festival. There is no thematic link between the films. No concentrated length of time for the screenings. It’s just an overture onto French culture.”
Carina de Naurois had been working at various film festivals for 8 years, including Focus on French Cinema and In French With English Subtitles. She brought a new vision with screenings in Westchester County and New York City to mesh the French and American cultures together. After 14 years as a French expat in New York, she always involved herself in charities and fund-raising but wanted to create a project that was her own, that she could bring with her if she needed to move once again with her family. Now, second year into the project, Carina de Naurois has a faithful audience comprised of both Francophones and Americans who come to see her carefully selective films.
“There is a feminist component in all of the movies”
She watches 150 to 200 films per year to make her selection, but only announces the chosen movie a month in advance. “Though there is no thematic branch to this project, I subconsciously choose films that are based on a true story and, more importantly, that disturb. Whether they make you reflect about certain elements in our society upon leaving the room, or simply moved you during certain scenes, at least you thought about it.” She goes on to explain that she chooses the movies that make her passionate, that trigger something. Most films also revolve around the role of women, with strong independent female characters and the upheavals it causes in our society. “The women in the films I choose are intelligent. I would argue there is a feminist component in all of the movies.”
Along with an introduction of the movie and pamphlets with the interviews the founder did with the director or certain actors in the chosen movie, the screenings are also followed by a discussion and drink included with the movie ticket. They are sometimes in the form of Q&As with prominent figures in the movie’s making, sometimes in the form of an apéritif outside the screening room. “It is a moment of togetherness, and it allows me to receive feedback on the projections also.” Carina de Naurois believes the project is a “success”, and to diversify it, she also includes screenings of family movies on some Sunday afternoons and documentaries.
French Movie Nights
153 Library Lane
Mamaroneck, NY 10543