CINE-SIMENON: GEORGES SIMENON ON FILM
August 8 – August 21
ALL FILMS SCREENING ON 35MM!
Belgian-born French language author Georges Simenon may not be a household name in the US, but in Europe he ranks among the most famous and renowned of all 20th-century writers, and undoubtedly the one who most successfully bridged the worlds of mass-marketed popular genre fiction and serious literature. By the end of his career he had won both the status of international best-selling author and the praise of literary icons such as André Gide and Henry Miller. Simenon would merit attention if only for the sheer volume of work he produced – he was something like an industry in and of himself, writing almost 200 novels under his own name, with scores more penned pseudonymously. But what is truly astonishing is that his Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not-sized output contains a host of works that are among the most rigorous, troubling, and uncompromising novels of the 20th century.
To the extent that North American readers have been aware of Simenon, it is for his numerous novels featuring Detective Maigret, 75 of which appeared over the course of 40 years. The high regard in which he was held in literary circles, however, came predominantly as a result of his roman durs (‘hard novels’), spare, highly concentrated investigations into the dark recesses of human behavior, several of which have reappeared in English over the past 10 years thanks to the efforts of New York Review Books and their indispensible NYRB Classics series.
Given Simenon’s fame and popularity across all levels of European (and to a lesser extent international) culture, it’s no surprise that filmmakers almost instantly embraced his work. Indeed, the vastness of Simenon’s oeuvre is mirrored by the flood of film adaptations that have appeared since he rose to prominence in the 1930s: well over a hundred different films have been made throughout the world, a filmic tribute that shows no signs of abating. To celebrate his accomplishment, and the cinema’s long love affair with his work, we’re presenting an extensive series highlighting more than a dozen of the greatest Simenon-inspired movies.
CINE-SIMENON has been co-organized by Kathy Geritz and the Pacific Film Archive, and is presented with the invaluable support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and New York Review Books (www.nyrb.com).
Very special thanks to Delphine Selles-Alvarez, Muriel Guidoni, and Laura Pertuy (Cultural Services of the French Embassy). Thanks also to Mark Balsam (Westchester Films); Eric Di Bernardo (Rialto); Jonathan Hertzberg (IFC); Linda Hollick (NYRB); Jonathan Howell (New Yorker); Mark Johnson (Harvard Film Archive); Christopher Lane & Michael Horne (Sony); Tim Lanza (Cohen Media Group); Fereidoun Mahboubi (Archives françaises du film-CNC); Gary Palmucci (Kino); Joe Reid & Caitlin Robertson (20th Century Fox); Julian Schlossberg; Morgane Toulouse (Gaumont); George Watson (BFI); and Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA).