The 317th Section
1965. France/Spain. Pierre Schoendoerffer. 100 min.
Introduced by Schoendoerffer, Toubiana
Monday, October 25, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
The 317th Section
1965. France/Spain. Written and directed by Pierre Schoendoerffer. With Jacques Perrin, Bruno Cremer. “Beyond a doubt France’s most beautiful war film” (Serge Toubiana, director of La Cinémathèque Française). Shortly before the decisive defeat of French colonial forces in Indochina in the 1954 Battle of Dîen Bîen Phû, a platoon of French soldiers is forced to cross enemy lines and join up with another battalion to survive. Schoendoerffer, then a war correspondent, and Raoul Coutard, then a photographer working with the military, give a harrowing sense of documentary authenticity to their fictionalized account of their experiences in the jungle, filming on location in Cambodia with handheld cameras. Schoendoerffer, who will recount his experiences in a rare appearance at MoMA with Serge Toubiana, recalls that “I was there with the troops on their long marches. I was there when it was sunny, when it was raining, and when we were being shot. I was injured, taken prisoner, and hit the rock bottom of human misery: three-quarters of my comrades didn’t come back. They died on the road, in the camps. In those three years, lived through more than most people see in a lifetime. I felt a need to bear witness to that.” Restored by Schoendoerffer and Coutard, La Cinémathèque Française, and StudioCanal, with the support of The Franco-American Cultural Fund In Vietnamese, French; English subtitles. 100 min.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The Eighth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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