Gaumont retrospective introduces Hong Kong audience to classic French films

Silver screen standouts including Eyes Without a Face, The Dinner Game and Léon, the Professional feature in the Hong Kong French Film Festival

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 January, 2016, 1:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 January, 2016, 1:32pm

After showcasing some of the most notable recent films of French cinema in November and December, the Hong Kong French Film Festival is kicking off its second half with a 12-film retrospective programme celebrating the 120th anniversary of Gaumont, the oldest film company in the world.

Founded by French inventor and engineer Léon Gaumont in 1895 (commonly regarded as the year cinema was born), the company has worked with some of world cinema’s greatest directors – from Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman to Roberto Rossellini and Jean-Luc Godard – and remains a venerable player in the fields of production and distribution today.

Of the dozen titles, seven are from the 1960s and ’70s. While Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) is arguably the best known in this group, the programme is also scattered with lesser-seen gems, such as Henri Verneuil’s Greed in the Sun (1964) and Georges Lautner’s Monsieur Gangster (1963) and The Great Spy Chase (1964).

For the less adventurous viewers, classics such as Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows (1958) and Maurice Pialat’s Loulou (1980) should offer a fitting introduction to two of France’s most notable filmmakers.

The newest titles in the programme are Luc Besson’s Léon, the Professional (1994) and Françis Veber’s The Dinner Game (1998), both modern classics that have stood the test of time.

The Gaumont retrospective opens today with Jean Renoir’s French Cancan (1955). It will run until January 30 at AMC Pacific Place, Admiralty, and Hong Kong Film Archive, Sai Wan Ho. For programme details, visit hkfrenchfilmfestival.com.