Lagarde, Rita Moreno, Chris Dodd, Michael Apted: D.C.

French Embassy Bastille Celebration
French Ambassador Francois Delattre, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, and Xavier Giocanti at the French Embassy's Bastille Day celebration. Photo: French Embassy via Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, stopped by the French Embassy Saturday night for its annual Bastille Day celebration.

A record 3,000 members of Washington’s French community sipped Charles de Fere champagne and waved French flags.

The evening was “a bit nostalgic” for Roland Celette, the embassy’s cultural attache. He said he would be returning to France next month after 11 years in his post in Washington. His attitude about the change was a decidedly French one.

“That’s life,” he said with a shrug.

On Thursday evening, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was among the Francophiles who attended a special Bastille reception for Americans at the home of Ambassador Francois Delattre.

Gene Kelly

At the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Friday night, Patricia Kelly and Rita Moreno shared stories in front of the original poster for the 1952 movie “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Kelly is the widow of the film’s choreographer and co-director Gene Kelly; Moreno was a fresh faced ingenue in the musical.

“It’s the Puerto Rican genes,” said Moreno, 80, on her enduring glow.

The film is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and a screening and reception in its honor kicked off the Smithsonian’s three-day festival commemorating the birth of sound in motion pictures.

Kelly said the Smithsonian holds a special place in her heart as she met Gene Kelly in 1985 at the National Air and Space Museum. The two married five years later. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Gene Kelly’s birth.

“Singin’ in the Rain” was screened in an auditorium at the Smithsonian provided by a gift from Warner Bros. Artifacts from the film came from the company’s archives.

Ronnee Sass, vice president for publicity and promotion at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, wore galoshes to the reception held on the museum’s first floor. Chris Kay, a Department of Defense staffer, wore a traditional beige raincoat and fedora while others donned glam 1920s ensembles in homage to the movie’s silent-film-era setting. Umbrellas were the favorite accessory of the night.

Manhattan cocktails were passed and appetizers were served on tables under umbrellas drizzled in “raindrop” crystals.

“Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100,” a program of 23 movies presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will screen at the Walter Reade Theater through July 26.

Michael Apted

Former Senator Christopher Dodd, the chairman and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, is bringing his own version of “Inside the Actors Studio” to his organization’s headquarters.

He hosted the inaugural “Evening With” Thursday night with Michael Apted, the director of films such as “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Amazing Grace” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

Among those who attended the reception and interview were William Cohen, former secretary of defense and chairman and CEO of the Cohen Group, Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.

Dodd said he wants to expose Washington insiders to the art of filmmaking through conversations with actors, directors and other artists.

As for his own summer-movie favorites, Dodd said he was a fan of “Brave,” the animated children’s film. “Vive la redhead!” he joked, referring to the movie’s redheaded heroine.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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