Dir. Juliet Berto and Jean-Henri Roger
1981, France, Belgium, 90 min
French with English subtitles
In Neige, Juliet Berto (Celine and Julie Go Boating and La Chinoise) is a barmaid in the red light Pigalle district. When a young drug dealer (Ras Paul Nephtali), who she helped raise, is gunned down by undercover police, she attempts to score heroin for his now-desperate clientele. She is aided in her quest by her French-Hungarian kickboxer boyfriend (Jean-François Stévenin, Out 1 and Small Change) and a West Indian preacher (Robert Liensol, Soleil O). A dynamic portrait of a diverse Parisian community, Neige’s observations about this unique place are simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking. The film’s stunning imagery is a credit to famed cinematographer William Lubtchansky (a collaborator of Rivette, Godard, Lanzmann, Truffaut and Varda). Now restored in 4K from its original 35mm camera negative, Neige is a vital window into a milieu that’s rarely been captured on film before or since.
“In the early 1980s Juliet Berto slowed the pace of her brilliant performances of the 60s and 70s to embark on a little-seen and still underappreciated directing career […] With gorgeous, lived-in street photography and stylish performances, this heartbreaking film shows the same politically committed, cinema-besotted verve of Berto’s better known work as an actress.” – BAM