Memories of Gallic helmer Malle shared

'Follet' screening part of Cannes Classics series

Family, friends and fans attended a screening of Louis Malle’s New Wave masterpiece “Le Feu Follet” (1963) in the Palais’ Bunuel Theater Tuesday evening followed by an intimate dinner at the TPS Beach Club. Screening was part of the Cannes Classics program and marked the 10th anniversary of the Gallic helmer’s death.

Present were Alexandra Stewart, who starred in the film and shared Malle’s life, their daughter Justine, Gila von Weiterhausen and her son Manuel Malle, the helmer’s brother Vincent Malle, thesps Jeanne Moreau and Michel Piccoli, soiree hostess Fabienne Vonnier of Gallic production and distribution house Pyramide and her Warner Bros. France topper husband, Francis Boespflug.

Louis and Vincent Malle were co-founders of Pyramide in the ’60s, and the company’s catalog contains all of Malle’s French films.

“Seeing the film was very moving,” said Justine Malle, a translator who was making her first trip to Cannes.

“The handwriting on the mirror was my father’s and there are lots of personal objects of his in the film.”

Stewart, still exuding star glamour despite a cold, told Variety: “Only actors know what it is like to see themselves 40 years earlier. My voice was so different then.”

Adapted from a novel by Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, who committed suicide in 1945, “Le Feu Follet” recounts the last 24 hours of Alain Leroy, a debonair but world weary Parisian on the verge of suicide, played by Maurice Ronet.

Vincent Malle, who is working to put together a remake of Malle’s 1958 “Elevator to the Gallows,” said, “Louis was not like the lead character but they did have some things in common, like their attractiveness to women.”

Restored and digitally remastered pic will feature in an upcoming Malle retrospective at New York’s Lincoln Center.