LE JOLI MAI (1963) dir Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme
12/1, @HFA; 12/6 – 12/13, @Kendall
A digital restoration of Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s dazzling cross-section of Paris circa May 1962 screens at the HFA on 12/1 with Lhomme in attendance and then in a weeklong run at the Kendall Square Cinema opening on 12/6. Adapting the then new lightweight cameras and sync sound capabilities that resulted in the first flowering of cinéma vérité (a label Marker instantly abjured), LE JOLI MAI provides the missing link between the groundbreaking auto-ethnography of Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER (1961) and the more aggressive interview-interventions found in Godard’s MASCULIN FÉMININ (1966). The film’s inquisitive organization focuses our attention on the power structures underlying what sociologist Erving Goffman called “the presentation of self in everyday life”. One might easily take it as harbinger for the events six Mays later in 1968, but then radical exercises in empathy never go out of date.
– Max Goldberg