The American Film Institute theater has announced a nearly complete retrospective series devoted to the movies of Jean Renoir. The first part of the series, consisting of films Renoir made between 1924 and 1939, will begin Sunday, Feb. 13, with a lecture by film critic Andrew Sarris and a showing of "Tire au Flanc," a 1928 silent comedy about Army life that introduced Michael Simon to the screen. A second part, covering Renoir's American and post-war European productions, is scheduled to begin Sunday, Mar. 13.
In addition to the familiar titles such as "La Grande Illusion," "The Rules of the Game," "The Lower Depths," "La Bete Humaine," "The Crime of Monsieur Lange," "Boudu Saved from Drowning" and "A Day in the Country," the series will include such rarities as "Tire au Flanc," the 1924 "La Fille de l'eau" (Renoir's first feature), a 1926 production from the Cinematheque Francaise - " tire au Flanc," "Nana" and the 1932 mystery thriller "La Nuit du Carefour," based in a Simenon novel.
Engligh synopses will be provided for three prints on loan from the Cinematheque Francaise - "Tire au Flanc," "Nana" and "La Nuit du Carreflour" and propaganda film, "La Vie Est a Nous," which Renoir contributed to in 1936 to encourage the Popular Front. This exceedingly rare item will share a bill with "Toni" on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Two silent shorts, "Charleston" and "The Little Match Girl," will share bills with "La Chienne" and "Boudu," respectively.
The success of the AFI Theater's recent "Films That Get Away" series has inspired a new program of theatrical releases that never found their audience, for reasons good or bad. The most trustworthy item in the series is probably the revival of Roman Polanski's 1967 satire "The Fearless Vampire Killers," with 20 minutes of distributor's cuts restored. Other titles in the series, which begins Monday, Feb. 14, include "Tracks," "Mahler," "Head," "Leadbelly," "The All-American Boy," "Tropic of Cancer," "Deep End," "Drive, He Said," "Cisco Pike," "Prime Cut" and "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie." A few will be having their Washington Premiers.
Nine films were named award-winners at the second annual Washington Film Festival last weekend at the AFI Theater. Tom Davenport's Born for Hard Luck," a character profile of an eccentric old medicine show entertainer called "Peg Leg" Sam Davidson, was chosen best independent documentary. The animation prize was shared by Jennifer Mead's "Dolly" and Gary Hughes' "Sorry Dick." Jochen Breitensein and Leroy Morais won the theatrical division for "Withering," Neal Sacharow and Stan Selis the abstract divion for "Datum" and Des Bartlett the sponsored division for "The Right Whale," a Mational georgrphic Society project.
"Cop," a public service spof by Bill Peterson, won special judges' award, while festival grand prizes went to Ginny Durrin for the abstract "Cherry Blossoms" and Paul and Holly Fine for "We're No Heroes," a half-hour study of firemen made for VMAL-TV.