Coeurs at Embassy of France Wednesday, July 23

The National Gallery of Art’s film offerings usually lean heavily on experimental cinema, but every so often, a selection with broader appeal will pop up. As part of its series on the work of the late French director Alain Resnais, the museum has partnered with the French embassy to show Coeurs, Resnais’ lighthearted mélange of 50 short scenes based on the 2004 Alan Ayckbourn play Public Fears in Private Places. The screening comes just prior to the U.S. release of Resnais’ final film, Aimer, boire, et chanter, another Ayckbourn adaptation. Centered around the lives and relationships—or more pointedly, the lack thereof—of six characters, Coeurs makes use of deliberately staged, theatrical sets to emphasize the characters’ emotional constraints. But the movie isn’t austere; instead, the tight form highlights the charm of the characters’ forced attempts to make a move away from monotony. Coeurs marks a departure for Resnais, who was also known for his early Left Bank political documentaries; this playful production won him the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion Award for Best Director. Come for the award-winning cinema, stay for the free chance to explore the embassy’s ritzy screening room. The film shows at 7 p.m. at the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road NW. Free. (202) 944-6000. coeurs.eventbrite.com.

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