A Showcase of Daring and Original Works
Twelve films are included in the ``Cahiers du Cinema Selects...'' program, including these:
* ``Young Werther,'' directed by Jacques Doillon. After the suicide of a troubled classmate, a group of high-school pupils decide to investigate the tragedy and learn if they could have prevented it. As they proceed, one of the youngsters falls in love with a girl who may have been romantically involved with the victim. Gently filmed and sensitively acted, this drama generates less emotional power than its material would suggest, but its sincerity and consistency are admirable. As the title suggests, its ideas come from Massenet's timeless opera ``Werther'' and Goethe's great outpouring of romantic angst, ``The Sorrows of Young Werther.''
* ``From the East,'' directed by Chantal Akerman. This superb documentary was filmed during a trip from East Germany to Moscow, focusing mainly on the Russian portions of the journey. Consolidating her status as today's most gifted Belgian filmmaker, Akerman alternates near-motionless indoor portraits with moving-camera outdoor shots charged with astonishing beauty and power. The result is a visual tone poem at once graceful, vigorous, and transcendent.
* ``Boy Meets Girl,'' directed by Leos Carax. Made a decade ago, Carax's first film borrows proudly from the New Wave style, punctuating its minimal story - about a young man and woman who meet by chance while wandering through nighttime Paris - with digressions and diversions that are often more interesting than the tale itself.
* ``A New Life,'' directed by Olivier Assayas. Distressed by the tensions of her home life and her job, a young woman seeks out a half-sister she has never met and finds herself in complicated new relationships with her estranged father and her sister's self-centered lover. The style of this drama is partly conventional, with rather ordinary images and performances, and partly innovative, with unexpected leaps in the story's development. Assayas does not appear to be a major talent, but this drama has a few powerful moments.
Also on the program is ``Francois Truffaut: Stolen Portraits,'' a documentary on one of the New Wave movement founders, directed by Serge Toubiana and Michel Pascal.
* After finishing their Manhattan engagement at the Walter Reade Theater on March 1, five movies from the ``Cahiers'' program will go on tour to Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago.
The traveling films are ``Young Werther,'' ``The Eye of Vichy,'' ``Bad Blood,'' ``The Birth of Love'' by Philippe Garrel, and ``Le Grand bonheur'' by Herve Le Roux. ``Helas pour moi'' will have its American theatrical premiere March 18-31 at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York.