Tag Archives: Pierre Niney



Nearly everything in Romain Gary’s “memoir” PROMISE AT DAWN is a tall tale, an exaggeration, or a outright lie. But as Adam Gopnik wrote earlier this year, there’s a difference between a fraud and a great fabricator like Gary, who played many characters—Resistance war hero, French consul general in Los Angeles, husband of Jean Seberg—in a life that began in 1914 in Lithuania and ended in 1980 in Paris with a self-inflicted gunshot.

“Even if the will toward art and the will to deceive others can be closely aligned, we readily distinguish between the liar and the littérateur. The fabulist wants to convey the dramatic experience of events, while the fraud wants to convey a false evaluation of them. The fabulist wants to dramatize himself; the fraud, to deceive others…

“Anyone who is an inspired storyteller, as Gary was, knows that the essence of good storytelling is not assembling a heap of facts but having the imagination to leap through an arc of bright truths to create a great curve of invention…”— Adam Gopnik*

Jules Dassin filmed Gary’s story in 1970. Éric Barbier has brought the memoir back to the screen in epic form, and will present the North American premiere as COLCOA 2018’s opening night selection.

The film stars Pierre Niney, French singer Nemo Schiffman as the teenage Gary, and Charlotte Gainsbourg as his larger-than-life stage mother who dreamed her son’s future—France, fame, and fortune—and then pushed him into it.


PROMISE AT DAWN, Monday, April 23, at 7:30 pm; and Saturday, April 28, at 1:40 pm.

DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, 7920 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.


City of Lights/City of Angels French Film Festivalcolcoa.org

*Adam Gopnik, “The Made-Up Man,” The New Yorker, January 1, 2018:


Pierre Niney as Romain Gary in Promise at Dawn. Image credit: Pathé.

Image result for pierre niney promise at dawn



The 21st annual COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is here, presenting nine days of premieres at the Directors Guild Theater in Hollywood. Some highlights from the first few days of the fest:

L’OPÉRA—a documentary about the Paris Opera directed by Jean-Stéphane Bron, and a worthy complement to Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse (2009)—screens Tuesday evening, April 25 at 5 pm.

Later that night, rustic farceur Bruno Dumont screens his new satire SLACK BAY / MA LOUTE. Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30 pm.

Lambert Wilson, Audrey Tautou, and Pierre Niney headline L’ODYSSÉE, a biopic of adventurer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Directed by Jérôme SalleL’ODYSSÉE screens on Wednesday night, April 26 at 8:30 pm. (Wilson will participate in a post-screening Q & A.)

Director Stéphane Brizé—known for contemporary dramas starring Vincent Lindon—takes on Guy de Maupassant in the trenchant period piece A WOMAN’S LIFE / UNE VIE, starring Judith Chemla, and screening Thursday evening, April 27 at 7:25 pm. (Brizé will attend.)

Also Thursday, Pierre Deladonchamps stars in A KID / LE FILS DE JEANan examination of paternity and identity directed by Philippe Lioret, who is in town for the festival.

POLINA—directed by Valérie Müller and choreographer Angelin Preljocaj—takes wing once its eponymous protagonist leaves the Bolshoi (and Moscow) for France. But the lessons learned at the dance academy in Aix are only the beginning of Polina’s European education.

Starring Mariinsky dancer Anastasia ShevtsovaNiels Schneider, dancer-choreographer Jérémie Bélingard, Preljocaj star Sergio Diaz, and Juliette Binoche (who has danced for Akram Khan), POLINA screens on Friday evening, April 28 at 5:45 pm.


Through May 2.

Directors Guild

7920 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.

From top:

Scene from L’Opéra.

Judith Chelma in Un vie.

Pierre Deladonchamps and Gabriel Arcand in Le fils de Jean.

Anastasia Shevtsova in Polina.

Audrey Tautou in L’Odyssey.


Berliner Paula Beer—new to American audiences, and winner of the Best New Young Actor award at last year’s Venice film festival—has been starring in movies for over eight years. But her performance in François Ozon ’s riveting new film FRANTZ is a breakthrough. She plays Anna to Pierre Niney’s Adrien, two young Europeans negotiating the aftermath of the Great War and their connection to the title character, Anna’s dead fiancé.

The plot mirrors Ernst Lubitsch’s Broken Melody, but like most of Ozon’s work, FRANTZ goes nowhere you think it might. The film ends, speculatively, in the 1920s, and a scene at the Louvre prompts a question: Will Anna’s love for a painting about death save her life?



Through April 6.

Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles.

From April 7 at the Laemmle Monica, Playhouse (Pasadena), and Town Center (Encino).

Above: Pierre Niney in Frantz.

Below: Niney and Paula Beer.