INsite Magazine

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

French Invasion at the Hipp

Prepare for some French flair this week at the Hippodrome Theatre. Tonight (Nov. 17) at 8pm, the Hippo, in conjunction with the FLEX Film Fest, presents a free, special 16-millimeter print of Masculin-Feminin, an iconic French New Wave film by director Jean-Luc Godard, along with several surprise short films. While Masculine-Feminine will be showing in the new Cinema Lounge downstairs, upstairs Francophiles can enjoy Paris, an ode to the city of lights.

Masculin-Feminin was chosen for the opening night from a collection of over a thousand 16mm films collected by Roger Beebe, a professor at the UF and artistic director of the FLEX film festival. 16 mm film offers a rare cinema experience that is hardly ever available in a regular movie theatre. This special presentation of Masculin-Feminin will have greater clarity and truer colors. Based on two stories by Guy de Maupassant, Masculin-Feminin is a cynical portrait of sixties culture, colored by the pop sensibility of the director. It co-stars French pop singer Chantal Goya and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

This special event marks the grand opening of the Hippodrome’s newly renovated basement, now known as the Cinema Lounge. A project almost a decade in the making, the Cinema Lounge will feature a new marble bar and cabaret-style seating. Tables and chairs will be set up in front of the screen, so that audience members interact as much with each other as with the film. “The benefit of this is that you are going to be sitting across from people in a way that represents the sort of dialogue we’re hoping to have about these classic films,” says Robert Matrone, cinema manager for the Hipp. “Plus, you can get up and go get a drink and popcorn without missing anything.”

If this first screening is a success, the Hippodrome hopes to feature other films from Beebe’s extensive collection in future Cinema Lounge screenings. “We could do this for quite a long time and never repeat a film. It’s an exciting prospect,” Robert says. To fund future screenings of free films, the Hippodrome will be asking spectators for donations of $3-$5.

The French extravaganza does not end with the Godard film. The Tuesday screening is followed by the showing of Cédric Klapisch’s film Paris on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 18 and 19, in the main cinema room upstairs. “Part of the reason we ended up going with the Godard film is because we’re also showing Paris in our main cinema this week, and so Masculin-Feminin ties into that,” Robert says. Tickets for the general public to this event are $7.

—Allison Griner

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