Cigarettes and Nylons

Three women in a foreign land.

They hardly speak the language, don’t know the customs, but vow to be good wives to young men they barely know.

The year is 1946. The foreign land is the United States.

In World War II, during brief encounters and stolen moments, 6,500 American recruits married French girls even while fighting their way to Paris and beyond.

An overwhelmed U.S. Army set up “cigarette” camps — Camp Chesterfield, Camp Lucky Strike — to “Americanize” the brides before shipping them to the care of in-laws they’d never met.

A sell-out hit at the 2010 New Orleans Film Festival, Cigarettes & Nylons follows three young women through hope and disillusionment, love and heartbreak, to a time when even as the world was burning, young hearts were set aflame.

94 minutes, mostly in French, with English subtitles.

Opens Friday, Oct. 29 for one week only at Chalmette Movies, 8700 W Judge Perez Dr, just 14 minutes from Frenchmen Street.

If you live in the Marigny or Bywater, this is your neighborhood theater. Follow Claiborne east 2.9 miles past the Industrial Canal Bridge. The newly renovated, all stadium seating theater is in the strip mall on the right. Shows are at 2:45 and 7 p.m. daily.

Filmmakers Michelle Benoit and Glen Pitre will be at the theater after the Friday and Saturday (Oct 29 & 30) performances to answer questions from the audience.

Lake Charles born, Paris-educated Michelle Benoit is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, novelist, playwright, museum designer, and nonfiction author. Her work has been translated into more than two-dozen languages.

Cut Off born and reared Glen Pitre is best known as writer/director of the big screen “gumbo westerns” Yellow Fever, Huit Piastres et Demie!, Belizaire the Cajun, The Scoundrel’s Wife, and The Man Who Came Back. America’s most famous film critic, Roger Ebert, calls Pitre “a legendary American regional director.”

Executive Produced by Michelle Benoit & Glen Pitre for Franco-German television, Cigarettes & Nylons stars Adélaïde Leroux (star of the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize winning Flandres), alongside Louisiana actors Billy Slaughter, Jessie Terrebone, James Yeargin, Michael Aaron Santos, Louis Hearthum, Geraldine Singer, Morrey McElroy, Sol Gothard, Catherine Lasperches, & Francette Vinet-Izard

Now showing daily in Jackson Square: Katrina & Beyond

Côte Blanche Productions was commissioned to create several video installations as part of the Louisiana’s State Museum’s major new Katrina & Beyond exhibit. These original pieces by video artists Michelle Benoit and Glen Pitre will permanently reside in the historic Presbytere next to St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans’ Jackson Square.

Living With Water is a poem to south Louisiana in moving images and music, projected onto a screen shaped like an Elemore Morgan painting.

Resilience chronicles Louisiana’s long history of disasters — storms & floods, epidemics & invasions — and our undiminished capacity to recover from them.

Hurricane Rita provides first hand accounts of Louisiana’s “forgotten storm.”

Reducing Risk looks at how we might make coastal life safer.

Life in Balance, the most ambitious of the five, swirls with imagery, some joyous, some heartbreaking, as it chronicles how devastation can be forged into hope. On a wall built of storm-salvaged windows, 14 video screens follow 50 different Louisianans out of despair and into rising determination to rebuild all that was good and replace what was not with something better.

The Presbytere is open Tuesday through Sunday. 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and is closed all legal holidays. Admission is $6. The videos show continuously.