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Children of Montmarte

Thursday, November 5, 2015, 8 p.m., Dryden Theatre

(La maternelle, Jean Benoît-Lévy, Marie Epstein, France 1933, 83 min., 35mm, French w/ subtitles)

Museum Treasures. Seemingly destined to a rosy future made of fancy dresses and evenings out with Paris high society, Rose suddenly realizes the harshness of life when her bankrupt father dies and her fiancé leaves her. She settles for a modest existence, taking a job as maid in a kindergarten in Montmartre, home of working-class Parisians, drug dealers, prostitutes, and social outcasts—but, it will turn into a touching and rewarding experience. Directed and adapted by Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein from Léon Frapié’s Prix Goncourt–winning novel La maternelle (1904), Children of Montmartre is a most human representation of children’s life in an educational institution in the best tradition of French realism between the wars. The film’s insight into the children’s inner world notably anticipates themes and suggestions of films such as Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959) and Small Change (1976), De Sica’s The Children Are Watching Us (1944), and Reed’s The Fallen Idol (1948). A true rediscovery from the George Eastman Museum vaults, this rare vintage print is not to be missed! Presented by Daniela Currò, preservation manager, Moving Image Department.