The Belle Époque on Film

Date: November 1, 2019 - November 22, 2019
Release Date: August 27, 2019

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition By Day & by Night: Paris in the Belle Époque, the Norton Simon Museum presents a series of films that travel back in time and bring this exciting era to life. Films screen on consecutive Fridays in November, starting at 5:30 p.m. Films are free with Museum admission. No reservations taken. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

French Cancan (1955), NR
Directed by Jean Renoir
Friday, November 1, 5:30–7:15 p.m.
Nineteenth-century Paris is vibrantly presented in Jean Renoir’s exhilarating tale of the opening of the world-renowned Moulin Rouge. Jean Gabin plays the wily impresario Danglard, who makes the cancan all the rage while juggling the love of two women—an Egyptian belly dancer and a naive working girl turned cancan star. This celebration of life, art and the City of Light (with a cameo by Édith Piaf) is a Technicolor tour de force by a master of modern cinema. In French, with English subtitles.

Le Plaisir (1955), NR
Directed by Max Ophüls
Friday, November 8, 5:30–7:10 p.m.
Roving with his dazzlingly mobile camera around the decadent ballrooms, bucolic countryside retreats, urban bordellos and painter's studios of late 19th-century French life, Max Ophüls brings his astonishing visual dexterity and storytelling bravura to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the limits of spiritual and physical pleasure. Featuring a stunning cast of French stars (including Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin and Simone Simon), Le Plaisir pinpoints the cruel ironies and happy compromises of life with a charming and sophisticated breeziness. In French, with English subtitles.

Casque d’Or (1952), NR
Directed by Jacques Becker
Friday, November 15, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Jacques Becker lovingly evokes the belle époque Parisian demimonde in this classic tale of doomed romance. When gangster moll Marie (Simone Signoret) falls for reformed criminal Manda (Serge Reggiani), their passion incites an underworld rivalry that leads inexorably to treachery and tragedy. With poignant, nuanced performances and sensuous black-and-white photography, Casque d’Or is Becker at the height of his cinematic powers—a romantic masterpiece. In French, with English subtitles.

Gigi (1958), G
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Friday, November 22, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Gaston (Louis Jourdan) is a restless Parisian playboy who moves from one mistress to another, while also spending time with Gigi (Leslie Caron), a precocious younger friend learning the ways of high society. The platonic relationship between Gaston and Gigi changes, however, when she matures, but the possibility of something lasting seems unlikely, since he won’t commit to one woman. Gigi refuses to be anyone’s mistress, however, and Gaston must choose between her and his carefree lifestyle.

: All screenings are free with Museum admission. Admission is $15.00 for adults; $12.00 for seniors; and free for Museum members, students with I.D., and everyone age 18 and under. Admission on November 1st is free from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. as part of the Museum’s Free First Friday program. For more information, call (626) 449-6840 or visit

WHERE: Norton Simon Museum| 411 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena; located on the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards at the intersection of the 210 and 134 freeways |Parking at the Norton Simon Museum is free but limited. Public transportation or ridesharing is encouraged.  

Press Contacts

Leslie Denk
(626) 844-6900
[email protected]

Emma Jacobson-Sive
(323) 842-2064
[email protected]

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Images for the Press

French Cancan (1955), NR
Directed by Jean Renoir
© Janus Films

Le Plaisir (1952), NR
Directed by Max Ophüls
Teledis/Photofest © Teledis

Casque d'Or Film Still

Casque d'Or (1942), NR
Directed by Jacques Becker
© Janus Films

Gigi film still

Gigi (1958), G
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
MGM/Photofest © MGM

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About the Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens.

Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit Hours: The Museum is open Thursday through Monday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Friday and Saturday to 7 p.m.).  It is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission: General admission is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. The first Friday of the month from 4 to 7 p.m. is free to all. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free but limited, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: Pasadena Transit stops directly in front of the Museum. Please visit for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit for schedules. Planning your Visit: For up-to-date information on our guidelines and protocols, please visit

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