Films on the Green is a much loved summer festival of free French films, screened in the city's parks. It began in 2008 in the community gardens of lower Manhattan and Harlem, and has grown steadily each year, reaching out to communities in different parts of the city. In 2013, for the first time, the festival will expand to Brooklyn. In partnership with the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, two films will be screened in Greenpoint's newly opened Transmitter Park.
The festival is organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the New York City Parks & Recreation, and now shows ten films in six locations bringing free French movies to audiences across the city each summer.
A Summer’s Tale is the third of Eric Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons” series, in which a shy young man must choose between three loves. This film was part of the Official Selection for Cannes, and will screen on Friday August 2nd, at 8.30pm in Transmitter Park.
U, an animation for families by Grégoire Solotareff & Serge Elissalde will screen on the 26th July. More details about both films are included in the film descriptions below.
Since its inception, the primary goal of the festival has been to expand the reach of French film and to bring classic and contemporary movies to people in their own communities. To this end, films are screened at different parks each Friday throughout June and July. A final screening takes place on September 5 at Columbia University, in partnership with the Columbia Maison Française. The festival also brings French film to the next generation through a partnership with NYU’s radio station, WNYU 89.1 FM, whose DJs play music before each film.
“Enjoying a film in the open air of a park is a favorite summertime tradition in New York City and the Parks Department is delighted to continue our partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to screen a series of free French films,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “This year we are especially pleased to bring the series for the first time to Brooklyn, ensuring that even more New Yorkers will have an opportunity to enjoy this free, open air movie experience.”
"In just six years, Films on the Green, with the invaluable support of the Parks department, has expanded from an event in community gardens to a staple summer festival in 6 different parks in New York, including our newest location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” said Antonin Baudry, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy. “It is exciting to promote French cinema to younger and more diverse audiences in New York. The itinerant style of Films on the Green allows us to bring communities together in parks and engage local neighborhoods."
Films on the Green gets greener…
In 2013 the festival lives up to its name and takes a leap towards a more sustainable future. Green Mountain Energy has donated carbon offsets to zero out an estimated 2,200 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) from onsite generators used to power the event. That’s the equivalent of not driving 2,400 miles, or the amount of CO2 that over 200 young trees can absorb in a year!
Love, ‘à la française’
French is the language of love, or so the saying goes. But behind this cliché is a multitude of cinematic possibilities. This year’s festival explores love ‘à la française’, through the lens of ten different directors, both classic and contemporary.
Truffaut’s overlooked eighth film, Mississippi Mermaid, opens the festival with a noir take on the love story, in a romance forged on the lam, between a tobacco tycoon and a con-artist.
Truffaut dedicated this film to Jean Renoir, the father of the New Wave, and the festival offers a chance to see one of Renoir’s love stories. French Cancan, released in 1955, is a tale of seduction and jealousy at the Moulin Rouge – it’s a love story and a love letter too, from Renoir to the Montmartre of the Belle Epoque.
From the classics to the most contemporary French directors, the festival offers a host of perspectives on love. The festival is a chance to catch the New York premiere of The Art of Love by Emmanuel Mouret, a series of vignettes that explore love and infidelity in contemporary Paris. There is also the opportunity to see films without U.S. distribution, such as Angel and Tony Alix Delaporte’s debut feature, a story of two lost souls in search of human connection which won two Césars in 2012; Marius and Jeannette – also a César winner – by Robert Guédiguian which takes place in the working class community in Marseille; and A Summer’s Tale, the third of Eric Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons” series, in which a shy young man must choose between three loves.
The critically-acclaimed Wild Reeds by André Téchiné, is another coming-of-age drama, set in Provence at the end of the Algerian war, where new desires are fueled by music, movies, and radical politics.
Films on the Green also offers a love story for younger audience : U, an animated movie by Grégoire Solotareff & Serge Elissalde. This film spins the tale of love against the odds, with a lonely princess, her unicorn-protector, and a charming travelling musician (music by French singer San Sévérino).
In Heartbreaker, the directorial debut of Pascal Chaumeil, and We Won’t Grow Old Together, by Maurice Pialat, the odds against love are devastating. Chaumeil’s film follows a hired heartbreaker as he attempts to break apart a couple just days before their wedding. Pialat’s film is an adaptation of his own autobiographical novel, a chronicle of destruction between lovers who cannot survive together, or apart.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the City of New York Parks & Recreation thanks Film on the Green’s 2013 official sponsors: Air France, BNP Paribas, Midi-Pyrénées tourist Board & Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and TV5 Monde.