March 24, 2017 · Regal Riviera · 3:00 P.M.
North American premiere of new restoration.
“The finest and strongest record of actual people that I have seen.”–James Agee
For one year, from 1944 to 1945, Georges Rouquier shared the life of a peasant family, his own, in the Farrebique farm in Goutrens, in the Rouergue region. He shows us life on a farm, marked by the rhythm of seasons, from harvesting in summer to the grandfather’s rituals of slicing the bread for dinner. The film also dwells on the hardships of life on a farm and the transformation brought on by the arrival of electricity, of modern times. Farrebique reveals the beauty of these people, their closeness to their beasts and to nature, facing an often harsh life.
This event is a celebration of Knoxville native son James Agee (1909-1955) and of the publication of his Complete Film Criticism by the University of Tennessee Press. Agee is one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century and an early titan of American film criticism. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, his legendary collaboration with Walker Evens, documented the lives of three white sharecropper families. His screenplays include The African Queen and Night of the Hunter. A Death in the Family, his posthumously published 1957 novel, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Agee’s film criticism for The Nation, Time, and Life (among others) was called “the most remarkable regular event in American journalism today” by W. H. Auden and had a lasting influence on critics Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, and Roger Ebert, among countless others.
Georges Rouquier (1909-1989) was a director and actor from Lunel-Viel, Hérault, France. Farrebique was awarded the first International Critics prize at the first-ever Cannes Film Festival in 1946 and later screened at the Venice Film Festival.
Dr. Charles Maland, who will discuss Agee at the screening, is the J. Douglas Bruce Professor of English and Cinema Studies at the University of Tennessee. He recently edited The Complete Film Reviews and Criticism of James Agee, which includes his new introductory essay about Agee’s career as a movie reviewer in the 1940s for Time and The Nation. Among Dr. Maland’s many published works is Chaplin and American Culture, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.