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New Wave' films to crest at Town Hall Theater

A sad pianist and a scared singer are headed for Middlebury's Town Hall Theater.

The sad pianist is Charlie Koller (played by Charles Aznavour), the hero of French director Fran ois Truffaut's "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960). Once a celebrated concert pianist, Charlie is melancholic and guilt-ridden because of his unfaithful wife's suicide. He seeks solitude and anonymity by playing honky-tonk in an out-of-the-way Paris saloon.

But life won't let Charlie alone. Charlie's brother has been involved in a robbery and is being pursued by two buffoonish criminals who want their share of the loot. Charlie and the woman he loves are caught up in the chase, and their quandary brings romance, action, suspense, and cynical humor to the big screen.

Want a bittersweet love story? An exciting gangster noir? A slapstick comedy? Truffaut skillfully serves up all three in "Shoot the Piano Player."

A week after Charlie leaves, a frightened singer comes to the Town Hall Theater. She is Cl o Victoire (Corinne Marchand), French director Agn s Varda's heroine in "Cl o from 5 to 7" (1962). Cl o is awaiting the results of a biopsy and fears that she may have cancer, especially after receiving a distressing Tarot card reading.

Varda follows Cl o in real time ("24"-like) as she wanders Paris trying to savor the present and to somehow come to terms with her sometimes vacuous life. Film critic Molly Haskell describes Cl o's odyssey as "a spiritual journey from blindness to awareness,...from self-absorption to the possibility of love."

If you want to see a splendid story about a beautiful woman in a beautiful city, "Cl o from 5 to 7" is for you.

Truffaut's and Varda's films are fine examples of French "Nouvelle Vague" (New Wave) cinema, movies that focus on the individual trying to deal with the absurdity of human existence.

Charlie will be at the Town Hall Theater (68 South Pleasant St) on June 21. Cl o follows him there on June 28. Both shows start at 7 pm and cost $5. Call 382-9222 for details.

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