THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED (Jacques Audiard, 2005)
MoMA Film, Education Center
4 West 54th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Wednesday, September 12, 4:00
Series runs through September 20
In a relatively unique change of pace, the French remade a favorite American underground film. Director Jacques Audiard and screenwriter Tonino Benacquista followed up their international hit Read My Lips (2001) with The Beat That My Heart Skipped, a creative, moody remake of James Toback’s Fingers (1978), which starred Harvey Keitel as a New York City kid forced to choose between the piano and the mob. Audiard moves the film to the mean streets of Paris, where Tom (Romain Duris) attempts to regain his childhood musical virtuosity, which he gave up after his mother’s tragic death. As he begins to train with a Vietnamese piano student-teacher (Linh-Dan Pham) who does not speak French, his crooked partners continue to reel him into their low-rent, dangerous real estate scams. Ever the antihero, Tom also has a poignant love-hate relationship with his father, played by Niels Arestrup in a marvelous yellow get-up. As Tom’s worlds collide, he is constantly aware of protecting his fingers, which he needs to perform Bach’s Toccata in E Minor at an important audition. The film, which takes a while to really develop, is shot in long takes with a handheld camera, keeping Tom boxed into his claustrophobic situation. Songs by Bloc Party and the Kills keep things on edge, mixing well with Bach and Alexandre Desplat’s evocative award-winning score. Winner of eight César Awards, The Beat That My Heart Skipped is screening September 12 at MoMA’s Education Center as part of “Jacques Audiard,” which celebrates the career of the French filmmaker upon the upcoming release of his first English-language feature, The Sisters Brothers; the series continues September 14 with the director’s 1994 thriller, See How They Fall, starring Jean Yanne, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Matthieu Kassovitz, before concluding with the new work on September 20, with Audiard and costar John C. Reilly participating in a Q&A.