Two by Louis Valray

Mar 4–18, 2021

Online

La belle de nuit. 1934. France. Directed by Louis Valray. Courtesy Lobster Films

Virtual Cinema screenings are available exclusively to MoMA members. Not a member? Join today and start streaming.

Not much is known about the director Louis Valray, except that he was born in Toulon in 1896 and made two exceptional feature films in the mid-1930s, both of which are screening in this program in new restorations from Lobster Films. Based on a play by Pierre Wolff, about a wronged husband’s revenge on his wife and her lover, La belle de nuit is a major find, a work of uninhibited stylistic imagination that ranges from Sirkian stylization (an elaborate play of mirrors and doubles) to brutal realism (a tour of the bordellos of Marseille suggests the contemporary photographs of Brassaï).

In Thirteen Days of Love, an officer of a passenger ship falls in love with the mistress of a Marseille racketeer, with unexpected results. Louis Valray’s second and final feature film, written with his wife, Anne Valray, is as free-spirited as his first, owing little or nothing to any established school of French cinema, mixing the lyrical (as the lovers enjoy a few days of languid romance on a tiny island) and stark realism (unblinking observations of the Marseille underworld and its seemingly authentic denizens).

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].