I have known Catherine Verret Vimont for many years, especially during her tenure as director of the New York office of Unifrance. In the course of promoting French film she would be introducing me and others to French stars, writers and directors. But I never had a clue that all the while she was as a hobby clicking away with her camera and recording photos that amount to a vast record of those we delight in remembering.
Lo and behold, an extensive collection—just a sampling, I am told--has turned up on display through October 4 at the Furman Gallery of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. It is titled “New York Mon Amour—a View of French Cinema.” The exhibition demonstrates that Verret Vimont has a great eye for capturing her subjects in a manner that makes them accessible to us as individuals, beyond the impression we may have of them as icons.
She is to be congratulated, first for her having the presence of mind to have taken the photographs, but also for the skill with which she has done her subjects justice. Also, these are very handsome prints that are on display. One can walk around the gallery taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
There are 95 pictures in all, and you will find shots of such luminaries as Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jeanne Moreau, to cite some of the iconic stars
Among directors you will spot Claude Lelouch, Claire Denis, Danièle Thompson, Costa-Gavras, Barbet Schroeder, Benoît Jacuot, Olivier Assayas, Patrice Chéreau and many others. The effect is seeing a parade of French cinema personalities depicted wall-to-wall, and one can enjoy studying the unusual takes that differ from customary publicity shots, and perhaps, if you are conversant with French film, have your memory jogged with respect to some of your favorites.
In addition to enjoying the photographs themselves, I also am intrigued learning of a different side of Verret Vimont than I had known. I hope the exhibit also is shown elsewhere and that it can be expanded to show even more of her prolific work. Through Ocotber 4, 2011, at the Furman Gallery of the Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Streer, New York, N.Y.