“Claude Sautet makes movies the way people live—he traces the connections between the mistakes, and celebrates the occasional victories.” —Roger Ebert
Hailed as a master by the likes of Jean-Pierre Melville, François Truffaut and Pauline Kael, his films a steady presence at art-house cinemas throughout the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, writer-director Claude Sautet (1924-2000) remains curiously absent from most discussions of major postwar French filmmakers. Perhaps that is because Sautet’s work defies easy categorization. A contemporary of the Nouvelle Vague without being part of it, and a successful “script doctor” who lent his expertise to many popular commercial entertainments, Sautet was as astute at mapping the private lives of small-time gangsters as he was at depicting the ups and downs of the haute bourgeoisie. Along the way he formed lasting partnerships with many of the greatest French stars of the era, including Yves Montand (3 films), Michel Piccoli (5 films), and his muse, the luminous Romy Schneider (5 films), before experiencing a late-career renaissance with a trilogy of romantic dramas made using a new generation of leading men and women (including Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart and Sandrine Bonnaire). We are pleased to present this long overdue survey of Sautet’s remarkable career, including the U.S. theatrical premiere of his masterpiece, Max et les ferrailleurs.