The annual Perrier French Film Festival is the antithesis of the blockbuster American summer movie season. Its nose-thumbing, post-Bastille Day assertion goes something like this: "Take this, you silly, special-effects Fantastic Four-loving, Bewitched-retreading, Herbie the Love Bug-revving American Tom Cruise-worshipers, because we're going to open a can of Truffaut on your sorry, biggie-sized stadium-seated asses!" Um, at least that's just one possible critical interpretation.
The French Tom Cruise
Friday, July 22, through Sunday, August 7. General admission costs $8. Call 954-525-3456, or visit www.cinemaparadiso.org.
Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale
Regardless, 13 French films are here and now for the seeing -- some new, some old -- along with an opening-night crepes and chocolates party at the Las Olas Arts Center. The schedule allows you to consider a welcome revision to Rene Descartes' famous maxim: I think, therefore I am... not going to watch stupid summer movies starring Martin Lawrence as a basketball coach.
Central to this year's festival is the recent trilogy by director Lucas Belvaux -- part un: An Amazing Couple; part deux: On the Run; and part trois: After the Life. You can view all three Saturday and Sunday without moving, unless you need a break to smoke your Gauloise cigarettes or make sure your Renault hasn't been towed away to Plantation by a couple of skateboarding sixth-graders. Otherwise, that's six full hours of air-conditioned Franco-splendor, starting at 3:30 p.m. each day. OK, maybe you don't know who director Lucas Belvaux is, but the folks in Bordeaux seem to be crazy for him.
Once you've knocked out the trilogy, you can slip the other nine movies into your schedule during the next two weeks. These include a bunch of comedies, as well as a welcome visit from a young Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 flick Belle du Jour (that's pre-The Hungerhot vampire bisexual meandering) and Francois Truffaut's 1959 can of whoop-ass, The 400 Blows. On nights when the Blows blows in, there's surely nothing else showing on any big screen in town that rates.