Contempt (Le Mepris, 1963).

It’s always amusing to hear new transplants to New York speak excitedly of summer in the city. Those of us who have lived here longer know with grim certainty that the city will soon transform into a giant sauna filled with rotting garbage. Not quite a dystopian hell. But close.

However, there are some things to look forward to in the summer. One of them is Films on the Green. Cinema buffs – and francophiles – will want to mark their calendars for the popular outdoor film series, which returns June 2nd and runs through the 7th.

The festival screens French films in parks around the city; the films are chosen by a slate of filmmakers, artists, and other clever people. This year’s “guest curators” include Wes Anderson, Isabella Rossellini, Jim Jarmusch, Laurie Anderson, James Ivory, Wanda Sykes, and Matthew Weiner of Mad Men fame.

La Cérémonie (1995).

The films selected this year are as varied and diverse as the selectors. Claude Chabrol’s La Cérémonie (1995), picked by Matthew Weiner, is an unsettling crime drama about a strange young woman hired as a housekeeper for a wealthy family’s isolated Brittany manor.

Potiche (2010).

Wanda Sykes’s pick is Potiche (aka “Trophy Wife,” dir. François Ozon, 2010), an ensemble comedy set in the ’70s about a submissive and unassuming factory-owner’s wife (Catherine Deneuve) who takes the reins after her husband is taken hostage by striking workers. Gérard Depardieu plays her old flame, a Communist mayor sympathetic to the strikers. Sykes will introduce the film in person.

Jarmusch has picked a Godard– the Brigitte Bardot drama Contempt (Le Mépris, 1963)– and Anderson has chosen Port of Shadows (Quai des Brumes, 1938), a prewar drama-romance set in the gritty port city of Le Havre. Both of those films will screen at Transmitter Park in Greenpoint.

La Cérémonie and Port of Shadows will both be playing in Tompkins Square Park at Avenue A and 7th. Tompkins Park, of course, also hosts the “Free Films in Tompkins” summer series. We’re working on getting information on their lineup this year.

In the meantime, here’s the schedule for Films on the Green:

All films are in French with English subtitles, except for the film that will be screened on July 12th, which is in French and English with Spanish subtitles.
Screenings begin at sunset.

June 2 – Central Park (79th St & Fifth Ave): Potiche (Trophy Wife), by Ozon, selected by Wanda Sykes
June 9- Washington Sq. Park: Tey (Today) by Gomis, selected by Saul Williams
June 16 – Washington Sq. Park: La Traversée de Paris by Autant-Lara, selected by Amy Hargreaves
June 23 – Transmitter Park (Brooklyn): Mauvais Sang by Carax, selected by Wes Anderson
June 30 – Transmitter Park (Brooklyn): Contempt by Godard, selected by Jim Jarmusch
July 7 – Tompkins Sq. Park: La Cérémonie by Chabrol, selected by Matthew Weiner
July 14 – Tompkins Sq. Park: Port of Shadows by Carné, selected by Laurie Anderson
July 21 – Riverside Park, Pier I (at 70th St): Lumière d’été by Grémillon, selected by Matías Piñeiro
July 28 – Riverside Park, Pier I (at 70th St): A Trip to the Moon by Méliès followed by Elena and Her Men by Renoir, selected by Isabella Rossellini
Sept. 7 – Columbia University (at 116th St): The Wild Child by Truffaut, selected by James Ivory, presented in partnership with the Columbia Maison Française

July 12 – J. Hood Wright Park (West 173th St): The Science of Sleep by Gondry (2006), presented in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York (screening in French and English with Spanish subtitles).