It's a film within a film. In The Violins at the Ball, Michel Drach tells of his twenty-year struggle to write his autobiography in a story in which. his life as a Jewish child under the Occupation and his memories, both real and imagined, intertwine with his life as an adult. The screening will be presented by Marie-José Nat, winner of the Best Actress award in at Cannes in 1974.
Photo from the film © RR
"You want to make a film that takes place in 1939. But you're 34 years late, my friend. The past is over and done with."
’ But despite what everyone says, Michel Drach - played by Jean-Louis Trintignant
- perseveres. He is haunted by this child, whose story must be told: the story of Occupied Paris, the Jew-hunts and the persecutions.
In the film as in his life as a filmmaker, Michel Drach encounters many obstacles along his creative journey. In 1974, the year the film was released, he said: "I've always been more or less sidelined by producers and critics. The former were never that keen to give me funding, while the latter, despite their favourable reviews, always classed me in a different category in their overviews of French cinema.
These obstacles to making the film gave rise to the double timeframe within the work itself. Written twenty years previously, the original script was reworked as Michel Drach now also wanted to portray the general reluctance to take on his project.
For the critics, it's always been difficult to classify Drach - his style defies easy pigeon-holing. He began his career at the height of the New Wave and alternated between highly politicised and socially conscious films and works imbued with romanticism. However, what unites all his films is their melancholic tinge. That and love. For his wife, Marie-José Nat, who played in six of his works.
Version restored by Silverway Média with the funding of Port-Royal Films, the support of CNC and collaboration of the Shoah Memorial Foundation.
Sunday 18th May / Buñuel Theatre / 5:30 p.m.
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