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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Louis Malle

Louis Malle created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle’s family allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris. He worked as an assistant to filmmaker Robert Bresson and was hired by underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau to be a camera operator on the Calypso. Cousteau soon promoted him to be co-director of « Le Monde du silence ». Malle’s third film, « Les Amants », broke taboos against on screen eroticism.
One of the French Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) directors of the 1950s and 1960s, he also made films on the other side of the Atlantic, starting with « Pretty Baby » (1978), the film that made Brooke Shields an international superstar. The actress who played a supporting role in that film was given a starring role in Malle’s next American film, « Atlantic City »; that promising actress was Susan Sarandon. In his final film, « Vanya on 42nd Street, Malle again penetrated the veil between life and art as theater people rehearse Anton Chekhov’s « Uncle Vanya »: he worked again with theater director Andre Gregory and actor-playwright Wallace Shawn, the conversationalists of « My Dinner with Andre ». He died in Los Angeles in 1995.