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MAD Surveys Cinema Of The New French Extremity With ‘J’Adore Violence’ Series This Fall

Series to highlight films by Luc Besson, Catherine Breillat, Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Christophe Honoré and François Ozon among others


New York, NY (October 1, 2013)

This fall, the Museum of Arts and Design profiles an important recent movement in French cinema with the series J’Adore Violence: Cinema of the New French Extremity. Initially coined by critic James Quandt in 2004, the term “New French Extremity” came to refer to a group of loosely associated French directors, who at the turn of the twenty-first century explored extremes of violence, sex and transgressions in films straddling the art-house and horror genres.

“The New French Extremity was a vital moment in recent cinematic history, when ‘art house’ and genre film directors began to meet in earnest to tackle taboos and extremes of contemporary life—looking into sex, death, and the love of watching violence, with films that explored what that meant for the human condition and society as a whole,” says Jake Yuzna, MAD’s Director of Public Programs. “A group of French filmmakers—

Luc Besson being a great example of that—were experimenting with a more Hollywood approach to cinema at the same time, adding to the dialogue around what constituted ‘French cinema’ and what would become of French cinema in the decades to follow.” 

J’Adore Violence will present ten films, including some of the movement’s most seminal works like Claire Denis’ Trouble Every Day (2001), Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999), Philippe Grandrieux’ Sombre (1998) or Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms (2003) and some of its forerunners, such as Georges Franju’s dark fairy tale Eyes Without a Face (1962) and Luc Besson’s Le dernier combat (1983).


J’Adore Violence: Cinema of the New French Extremity is organized by Jake Yuzna, Director of Public Programs. 

Movie tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for members and students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased by phone at (800) 838-3006 or online via All screenings will take place at the MAD Theater, located on the below-street level of the museum at 2 Columbus Circle at 59th Street. 

For more information about the series, visit

Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage)
Dir. Georges Franju
Starring Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, and Juliette Mayniel
Friday, October 11, 2013, 7 p.m.
An iconic and widely influential 1960 French horror/fairy tale film that follows a respected surgeon who kidnaps young women in the hopes of grafting their faces onto that of his disfigured, imprisoned daughter.

The Last Battle (Le Dernier Combat)
Dir. Luc Besson
Starring Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, and Jean Reno
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 7 p.m.
Luc Besson's explosive first feature, The Last Battle (Le Dernier Combat), is a nearly silent post-apocalyptic tale of survival shot in stunning black-and-white Cinemascope, signaling the beginning of French cinema's flirtation and eventual embrace of Hollywood filmmaking.

I Stand Alone (Seul Contre Tous)
Dir. Gaspar Noé
Starring Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, and Frankye Pain
Friday, October 18, 2013, 7 p.m.
An unrelenting portrait of proletarian rage and despair, I Stand Alone is Gaspar Noé's unsparing vision of those who are cast off by society.

Trouble Every Day
Dir. Claire Denis
Starring Vincent Gallo, Alex Descas, Tricia Vessey, and Béatrice Dalle
Thursday, October 31, 2013, 7 p.m.
Vincent Gallo and Béatrice Dalle star in Claire Denis's sensuous and atypical horror film as victims of a taboo, carnal hunger their respective partners can't satiate. Special Halloween screening!

Criminal Lovers (Les Amants Criminels)
Dir. François Ozon
Starring Natacha Régnier, Jérémie Renier, and Predrag Manojlovic
Friday, November 1, 2013, 7 p.m.
This modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel follows young, outcast siblings on the road to bury the body of a classmate they just murdered, before they end up prisoners of a malicious hermit in the woods.

Dir. Philippe Grandrieux
Starring Marc Barbé, Elina Löwensohn, and Géraldine Voillat
Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3 p.m.
The extremity of Philippe Grandrieux's cinema has less to do with the display of explicit on-screen sex and violence and more to do with pushing the boundaries of perception in this fable centered on a serial-killer puppeteer who is infatuated with following the Tour de France.

Dir. Catherine Breillat
Starring Caroline Ducey, Rocco Siffredi, and François Berléand
Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7 p.m.
Catherine Breillat's Romance explores the journey of a schoolteacher who breaks away from a frustrating relationship with her withholding boyfriend in order to engage in a series of sexual encounters.

Pola X
Dir. Leos Carax
Starring Guillaume Depardieu, Yekaterina Golubeva, and Catherine Deneuve
Thursday, November 14, 2013, 7 p.m.
An adaptation of Herman Melville's Pierre: Or, The Ambiguities, Pola X follows a wealthy author living in Normandy who is haunted by the presence of a dark and mysterious woman who claims to be his half-sister.

Twentynine Palms
Dir. Bruno Dumont
Starring Yekaterina Golubeva and David Wissak
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 7 p.m.
Bruno Dumont's controversially minimalist film follows a couple drifting through the California desert landscape in a red Hummer, as they attempt to communicate their anxieties through carnal acts.

Ma Mère
Dir. Christophe Honoré
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, and Joana Preiss
Thursday, December 5, 2013, 7 p.m.
In this 2004 adaptation of Georges Bataille's novel Ma Mère, Isabelle Huppert plays the eponymous mother who seduces her son into a world of sexual excess.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores the value of making across all fields of contemporary creative practice. The Museum focuses on the ways in which artists and designers transform the world around us, through processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital. MAD's exhibition program is dedicated to creativity and craftsmanship, and demonstrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. The Museum's permanent collection is global in scope and includes art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum's mission is education. The Museum houses classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum's collection and subjects across the full spectrum of making practices are held in a renovated 143-seat auditorium.

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