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The Flight Of The Red Balloon – Lamorrise it ain’t. wrong red balloon

Tweet Flight of the Red Balloon – Hsiao-Hsien Hou A Damien Hirst sheep of a movie. It looks like a movie; has all the elements of a movie: one superb acting performance; a screenplay and a narrative, of sorts; careful scene set ups; thoughtful cinematography, precise editing; even a ‘tarty’ lone piano soundtrack – blatantly, […]

Lust, Caution – artistic integrity, exploitation, sexual hypocrisy

Tweet Lust, Caution (Se, Jie) – Ang Lee Never have I been so unsure of the integrity of a director’s artistic intention than with this erotic political thriller from Brokeback Mountain’s Ang Lee. And it matters. Lee’s sensitivity and reticence with Brokeback perhaps earns him the benefit of the doubt despite a lingering doubt that […]

The Page Turner – Precision, obsession, indignation, revenge

Tweet The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de pages) – Denis Dercourt Steve McQueen argued one should feel as much as possible and show as little as possible. Whatever may be the merits of this idea for individual self-control, it is an oppressively apt definition of the cardinal emotional value of the bourgeoisie. Melanie Prouvost is […]

The Witnesses (Les Temoins) – a grown up film about sex, love, friendship, loyalty

Tweet The Witnesses (Les Témoins) – Andre Téchiné Unsentimental but compassionate: non-judgemental but raising complex moral issues of sexuality, friendship, love and loyalty: does any nation so consistently produce such grown up, wise and thoughtful films about life, love and human relationships as the French? In the last 6 months alone Coeurs (Resnais), The Singer […]

Gabrielle – each unhappy marriage is unhappy in its own way.

Tweet Gabrielle – Patrice Chereau Intimacy, whether physical or emotional carries a risk only mitigated by love. Whether loss of intimacy destroys love, or loss of love destroys intimacy is an emotional issue of some substance. Yet unresolvable. What is chillingly true is that when love dies, earlier intimacy empowers each partner with an almost […]

Downfall – Ganz’ Hitler transcends performance

Tweet Downfall (Der Untergang) – Director Oliver Hirschbiegel Hitler and the Holocaust occupy a unique moral space. The man and his deeds are somehow off the scale of our normal judgement of right and wrong. Even beyond the grave, his charismatic spirit exercises in equal measure both a terrible fascination and deep repugnance in us. […]

36 Quai des Orfevres – right guys – wrong roles

Tweet 36 Quai des Orfèvres – Olivier Marchal Close but no cigar. This is an entertaining cop melodrama with a dash of Gallic style. Yet it might have been the heir to Dassin’s Rififfi or Clouzot’s Wages of Fear. Its set up has the ingredients. But Marchal has taken the safe route to journeyman melodrama […]

Before Sunset – soulmates meet up again

Tweet Before Sunset – Richard Linklater Before Sunset is a movie for writers. The love story is a tough genre: if we don’t connect with the characters and their relationship – there is no film. Jesse and Celine connect; with each other and with us, even after the nine years since they, and we, last […]

The Heartbeat Detector – death by euphemism, acquiescence by cliché

Tweet The Heartbeat Detector (La Question Humaine) – Nicolas Klotz Challenging, austere, masterly. That’s me. Drivel, pompous, dire. Those are some other comments – mostly from punters rather than critics it must be said. For me, if you take cinema, film, as an art form capable of the expression of profound ideas and deep emotions, […]

Coeurs (Private fears in Public Places) – warmth in the winter of love

Tweet Coeurs – Private Fears In Public Places – Alan Resnais A truly wise film. In every sense. Director Resnais almost 50 years on from Hiroshima Mon Amour assembles with masterly assurance all the cinematic arts to serve his narrative and emotional purpose: from award-winning Eric Gauthier’s evocative cinematography; through precise, unobtrusive editing; a subtle […]