As the French New Wave surged forth in the 1950s, Nelly Kaplan was already swimming upstream. A native Argentinian of Jewish descent born in 1931, she had emigrated to France earlier in the decade and found her home and hub. A habitué of the Cinémathèque Française, this former economics student would make her mark in journalism, surrealist fiction, film theory and criticism, and documentary filmmaking. Kaplan advanced to writing and directing herself after being a professional and personal partner to legendary director Abel Gance, collaborating on Magirama (1956) and The Battle of Austerlitz (1960). Moving ahead with her own career, Kaplan made a series of fiction features that probe sexual power dynamics and confront the hypocrisies of France’s prevailing social order with a ferocious but playful touch. “Women are never passive in my movies… [they] are never victims!” Kaplan once remarked, and the Quad is delighted to present the first-ever New York retrospective of a defiant artist who still feels ahead of her time.
“I never accepted being dragged in the mud. I react like a panther!” —Nelly Kaplan
“Her primary subject is the vicissitudes of heterosexuality, captured from the point of view of alert women who refuse to be exploited or dominated.” -Amy Taubin, Artforum
The U.S. premiere engagement of a 60th anniversary 2K restoration of Kaplan’s breakthrough film A Very Curious Girl opens April 12, followed by a retrospective on the 19th.
Click here to watch the trailer for our Nelly Kaplan series.
All restorations courtesy of Lobster Films