Jean-claude Brialy

Jean-claude Brialy

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Claire's Knee Review


Grim
Lechery in the guise of art, and what could be more fun? Eric Rohmer's fifth "moral tale" tells us of a man obsessed with nubile young girls, particularly a young blonde's... well, you guessed it. Our hero is about to get married, you see, and he just doesn't feel ready to go through with it. So he chats up a couple of young girls, including the titular Claire, who doesn't show up until 47 minutes into the film. Eventually he gets to touch her leg. This is the only flat-out repulsive moral tale and the only one that doesn't really make much sense. Claire's Knee purports to be about love but comes across as little more than infantile.

For more discussion of the "six moral tales," see the review of My Night at Maud's.

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The Monster (1994) Review


OK
I suppose that the problem with subtitled films is one of being literary. Sure, you can watch intelligent films until the cows come home, but the passerby on CNN's Showbiz Today said it best when he said "I don't like to read when I go to movies."

The fact is that most people don't like to read anymore. I am highly unusual in my affinity for the written word (I not only read books, but write them as a hobby), in my love of conversation as an art form. A small percentage of America likes that. This is the latter half of the 20th century. The information age where the only things that we like to read anymore are web pages. Our stories are told to us through movies. Our book reports are done courtesy of Cliffs (who, don't ask me why, did Slaughterhouse-Five, one of the easiest reads ever).

Continue reading: The Monster (1994) Review

Claire's Knee Review


Grim
Lechery in the guise of art, and what could be more fun? Eric Rohmer's fifth Moral Tale tells us of a man obsessed with nubile young girls, particularly a young blonde's... well, you guessed it. Our hero is about to get married, you see, and he just doesn't feel ready to go through with it. Somewhere between insulting and repulsive, Claire's Knee purports to be about love but comes across as little more than infantile.

Continue reading: Claire's Knee Review

The Phantom of Liberty Review


OK
In 1972, when he was in his 80s, director Luis Buñuel released what is very likely his masterpiece, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. The film is a marvel for a lot of reasons, but one of its hallmarks is the constant digressions of its plot; it moves unexpectedly from dream sequence to reality in ever-deepening convolutions, as though Buñuel placed equal weight on our waking and irrational lives. In his next film, 1974's The Phantom of Liberty, he dispensed with plot, as it is traditionally understood, altogether. In this penultimate outing, Buñuel focuses on the role of chance in life, on the free-associative substance of dreams, and on the arbitrariness of social conventions, and he extends that focus to the film's structure itself.

The continuity of The Phantom of Liberty isn't entirely random; the plot moves from one character's set of circumstances to another's, taking the film with it and only rarely returning to previous narrative strands. (Richard Linklater's Slacker is an example of another film - perhaps the only other film - with a vaguely comparable structure.) The Phantom of Liberty begins with the execution of Spanish partisans by Napoleonic troops in Toledo in 1808, an incident memorialized in Goya's famous painting "Third of May." The film, in fact, opens with this image - and it recurs more dependably than any character does - the intended irony being that the partisans were fighting against the greater freedoms that the Napoleonic Code afforded, and thus against liberty. Among the French troops is a captain whom we follow into a cathedral; there he makes sexual advances on the statue of a certain Dona Elvira, whose body rests beneath the cathedral floor, until he is assaulted by the statue of her late husband, which kneels next to hers. To this point the film has been narrated, and here the scene shifts to a nanny in contemporary times who is reading the captain's tale out loud in a park. As she reads, the young girls in her charge are approached by a shifty man who offers to show the girls some photos, warning that no grown-ups are to see them. We then meet the father of one of the girls ("I'm sick of symmetry," he announces while handling a display box containing a giant spider); he and his wife are outraged when shown the photos, and later the man's sleep is haunted by a mailman, who delivers a letter to his bed, and what I took to be an ostrich sauntering casually through the room. The following day this man's doctor explains that he's not interested in his patients' dreams, but the man insists that he wasn't dreaming and offers the letter he received as proof.

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A Woman Is A Woman Review


Excellent
Jean-Luc Godard calls A Woman Is a Woman "a neorealist musical -- that is, a contradiction in terms." He couldn't be more on the money. Woman is disorienting and unfamiliar, and altogether compelling.

Anna Karina owns the film wholly: She's a stripper in Paris who decides she wants a baby. She approaches her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy), but he refuses. So she turns to another guy: his best friend.

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The Monster Review


OK
I suppose that the problem with subtitled films is one of being literary. Sure, you can watch intelligent films until the cows come home, but the passerby on CNN's Showbiz Today said it best when he said "I don't like to read when I go to movies."

The fact is that most people don't like to read anymore. I am highly unusual in my affinity for the written word (I not only read books, but write them as a hobby), in my love of conversation as an art form. A small percentage of America likes that. This is the latter half of the 20th century. The information age where the only things that we like to read anymore are web pages. Our stories are told to us through movies. Our book reports are done courtesy of Cliffs (who, don't ask me why, did Slaughterhouse-Five, one of the easiest reads ever).

Continue reading: The Monster Review

L'Effrontée Review


Weak
I'm not sure that L'Effrontée is wrong -- but I'm pretty sure it ain't right.

Made in 1985, Claude Miller's film focuses on a bratty girl (Charlotte Gainsbourg, only 14 at the time) wasting away a month after school is out and before she goes on summer holiday. Charlotte becomes obsessed with a child piano prodigy and through a ridiculous coincidence, ends up encountering her en route to getting her piano stool repaired. Charlotte then hangs around the metal shop in order to try to get closer to Clara, the prodigy, and hopefully spend her holiday with the young girl.

Continue reading: L'Effrontée Review

Jean-claude Brialy

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