Arnaud Desplechin once again traverses the uncharted distance between comedy and tragedy with this exhilarating work of intersecting lives and family connections. Invoking everything from Shakespeare and Hitchcock to Moby Dick, the film is a heartbreaking, hilarious melodrama of the intrigues and entanglements of ex-spouses Nora and Ismaël. Ismaël is a disheveled, neurotic musician who descends into a comic nightmare when he is committed to a mental hospital by a mysterious third party. He spars with the steely clinic psychiatrist, bursts forth with impromptu break-dancing sessions, and attempts to woo a still-fragile suicide survivor. Vivacious art dealer and single mother, Nora is struggling to rise above the calamities of her own romantic life and the looming death of her ailing father by marrying an icy Parisian businessman. Because her young son dislikes her fiancé, Nora tries to convince Ismaël to adopt the child. With its vivid references to mythology, literature, and cinema, Rois et Reine/Kings and Queen is an astonishingly original and thoroughly entertaining take on modern relationships. (Arnaud Desplechin, 2004, 150 min, 35mm) Rois et Reine/Kings and Queen is presented as part of the 2009 Tournées Festival of New French Film at the Film Studies Center. You are invited to spend five Friday nights this winter watching a conversation unfold between the contemporary work of classic French New Wave directors Garrel, Resnais, Godard and recent films by Honoré and Desplechin, members of the "new, new wave".
The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC).