French pix in ‘Lights’

De Broca title among six to unspool at DGA in April

“City of Lights, City of Angels,” the second annual survey of recent French films, will unspool April 28-May 2 at the Directors Guild. This year’s program will include the latest from vet helmer Philippe de Broca, recent award-winners and a restored classic among the six selections.

In addition to nightly screenings, the series will include the panel “New Wave, Next Wave,” an exchange between French and U.S. filmmakers about art, culture and commerce.

Opening-night festivities will include the U.S. premiere of “En Garde” (aka “Le Bossu”), a swashbuckling comedy from de Broca in the spirit of his earlier “Cartouche,” which starred Jean-Paul Belmondo. The new outing toplines Daniel Auteuil, Fabrice Luchini and Vincent Perez, who will introduce the film.

New talent represented

Emerging talent is well represented with the selection of “The Life of Jesus,” “Dry Cleaning” and “Just for a Laugh.”

“Jesus,” written and directed by Bruno Dumont, is an allegoric tale centering on racism in a village in Normandy; it already has been recognized with a handful of awards on the international fest circuit.

“Dry Cleaning,” directed and co-written by Anne Fontaine with Gilles Taurand, is a romantic drama with an unusual setting that recently received a Cesar award for best male newcomer for Stanislaus Merhar.

And “Laugh,” from writer-director Lucas Belvaux, is a role-reversal romantic comedy in which a house husband suspects his working wife of having an affair.

Corneau offers ‘Cousin’

Acclaimed filmmaker Alain Corneau will be present with “Le Cousin,” a policier centering on the friendship between a cop and his informant. Starring Patrick Timsit and Alain Chabat, the Christmas release has been one of the top box office hits of the year.

Rounding out the program is a revival of Jacques Tati’s 1949 “Jour de Fete.” The virtually wordless comedy casts Tati as an accident-prone, bicycling postman. One of the classics of international comedy, the “Jour de Fete” restoration is particularly significant as it was the sole film shot on Thomsoncolor.

Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt prior to the movie’s release and the picture was distributed in black & white until last year, when the original elements were tracked down, enabling archivists to make the first color print.

In addition to Perez, confirmed guests include Belvaux, Corneau, Dumont and Taurand.

This year’s program is sponsored by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, comprised of the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, France’s Society of Authors and Composers and the Motion Picture Assn. For further program and ticket information, call (310) 206-8013.

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