Elsie Parker and the Poor People of Paris provide live musical accompaniment to Jean Renoir’s silent “Nana,” the famed director’s second feature. A condensed but largely faithful adaptation of the classic novel by Emile Zola (the author’s daughter, Denise Leblond-Zola, was even hired to write the titles), the film stars Renoir’s wife, Catherine Hessling, as the flawed title character, a middling stage actress who becomes the kept woman of a married man, the hopelessly infatuated Count Muffat. Influenced by the extravagant work of Erich von Stroheim (“Foolish Wives,” “Greed”) — whom Renoir greatly admired — the film features a pair of grand set-pieces, at a horse race and an open-air ball.
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Lionel Cuillé, the Jane and Bruce Robert professor of French and Francophone studies at Webster University.
Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation