Films on the Green, 2012 Edition
June 16, 2012, 10:59 am
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Our DJ’s, NAS’s Molly and Shake ’em on Down’s Anna at Washington Square Park. (Photo Credit: Nathalie Charles)

We told you last year about Films on the Green, the French film festival held all over New York City parks each summer. Well, the festival is back this year, with a nice selection of films and with the added bonus of featuring WNYU as an official partner!

The festival started out on June 1st with a screening of OSS 117: Nest of Spies, by the most famous French trio in cinema at the moment, actors Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and director Michel Hazanavicius, who were heavily praised for 2011’s The Artist. It will go on until July 13th, and will return for one last outdoor screening on Columbia University’s Low Library steps for a viewing of the classic Jules and Jim with Jeanne Moreau at the beginning of September.

We’re not just talking about this festival because you’ll get to hear WNYU DJ’s awesome skills on the 1’s and 2’s before the screenings if you decide to go. French cinema has the reputation for being slow, pretentious and overly intellectual at times. And that might be true in some instances. But when this festival brings classic films (as well as newer ones) to Tompkins Square Park, our own Washington Square or Pier 1 at Riverside Park with its big inflatable screen, it becomes a lot easier to see that French films–or any foreign movies, for that matter–are a lot more accessible than we often like to make them seem.

As the festival alternates between childhood favourites like War of the Buttons, which screened on Thursday, or Donkey Skin with the legendary Catherine Deneuve (June 29, Tompkins Square Park) and high tension thrillers like Tell No One (July 6, Riverside Park – Pier I) while also showing the good-humored but politically charged animated film Persepolis (July 13, Riverside Park – Pier I), our perspective on what movies are outside of Hollywood and the anglophone indie market is immediately enriched.

I should probably disclose, for the sake of fairness, that I am French and could potentially be biased about all of this. But when I brought friends of mine to the festival last year and we saw the dangerously sexy The Swimming Pool with Alain Delon and a few weeks later, the big family comedy Nos Jours Heureux, it was quite obvious that when put in an inviting setting (and nothing is more inviting than a park on a hot summer night in New York), French films are just as inviting as the rest of them.

So there’s a lot of competition for outdoor screenings in the city every summer, but if you feel a little bit curious about foreign films, attending one or more of the shows of Films on the Green might not be a terrible idea for you.

Here are the remaining films you can see for this 5th edition of the festival:

June 22 – 8:30pm: The Axe, Tompkins Square Park

June 29 – 8:30pm: Donkey Skin, Tompkins Square Park

July 6 – 8:30pm: Tell No One, Riverside Park – Pier I (at 70th St)

July 13 – 8:30pm: Persepolis, Riverside Park – Pier I (at 70th St)

September 6- 7:30pm: Jules and Jim, Columbia University – Low Library Steps

For more information about Films on the Green, simply click here.

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