Les Choses de la Vie

Earlier this month Gene Siskel Film Center presented My Journey Through French Cinema, a 200-minute essay film by the venerable writer-director Bertrand Tavernier (Round Midnight, Life and Nothing But) that presents his country’s movies through the lens of personal reminiscence—much as Martin Scorsese did with My Voyage to Italy (1999) and A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995). In concert with the documentary, Film Center is also screening nine films that Tavernier discusses; most of them are commonly available favorites (Grand Illusion, Children of Paradise, Cleo From 5 to 7), but the series includes the first Chicago screening in decades of Claude Sautet’s fascinating Les Choses de la Vie (“The Things of Life”), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival in 1970. Tavernier was friends with Sautet for 40 years and is so taken with Les Choses that he chose its final shot—of a dazed Romy Schneider wandering into a crowd as the focus blurs—to be the concluding image of his essay. Continue reading >>