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Le Départ

Screening on Film
Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.
With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Catherine-Isabelle Duport, Jacqueline Bir.
Belgium, 1967, 35mm, black & white, 93 min.
French with English subtitles.

By making his first non-Polish film in Belgium with nouvelle vague icon Jean-Pierre Léaud and his Masculin-Féminin co-star Catherine Duport, Skolimowski engaged in an open dialogue with the French New Wave to which his films had been compared from the very beginning. In his irrepressible portrayal of a hairdresser obsessed with race cars and his dream of entering the fastest model Porsche in a weekend rally, Léaud offers an energized and eccentric variation of the drifting young men in Skolimowski’s early films. Le Départ’s zany story of racing and intrigue is fascinating for its vision of a postwar Europe obsessed with speed and modernization, a theme infused with a gentle melancholy by Komeda’s haunting, jazz inflected score. – HG

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