In Tuscany, author James Miller (Shimell) finds that his latest book, Certified Copy, is more acclaimed in Italy than back home in England. A fan, Elle (Binoche), buys the book to her friends while her son (Moore) teases her that she's in love with the author. In her shop full of antiques (and copies), she meets James and the two head off for a day of visiting museums and roaming through an Italian village. And as they talk, they invent their own history as a couple.
Continue reading: Certified Copy [copie Conforme] Review
The silver-haired matriarch of this subdued clan -- the antithesis of the tribe of lunatics in A Christmas Tale -- is Hélène (Edith Scob), a one-time art-world staple. Her three children are just about as different as three siblings can be: There's flighty Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), a designer of sorts living in New York; young and ambitious Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), who works for Puma Sneakers in Peking; and nostalgic Frédéric (Charles Berling), the eldest, an economist who doesn't believe in economics. Sentimentalist and stubborn nationalist that he is, Frédéric laughs his mother off when she tells him he will have to sell the house when she dies, insisting the house will stay in the family.
Continue reading: Summer Hours Review
Munho and Hunjoon are old buddies just reuniting after a long time apart when the film opens. Munho is an art professor who inexpertly hides a misanthropic bitterness behind a facade of facile arrogance. His onetime friend Hunjoon has just returned from studying film at an American university; he's a quieter, less sure type, constantly checking his own behavior and capable of stupendous self-loathing. Munho chews and drinks loudly without regard for anybody else while Hunjoon smokes nervously, his legs bouncing under the table. Needless to say, the women all seem to go for Munho.
Continue reading: Woman Is The Future Of Man Review
Continue reading: The Color Of Lies Review
Judging by the title and the con-game setup, we're on alert for twists from the very beginning: Betty (Isabelle Huppert) is seen with an obvious mark at a casino. Soon she's got him back in his hotel room, drugged, and lets in an older man who's been watching the pair. He turns out to be her partner Victor (Michel Serrault), and they take 1/3 of the mark's money (not so much that he'd miss it) and vanish back to their RV. These guys are small time and they know it. Nothing wrong with that, but while planning their next move, Betty decides to take a vacation. She and Victor reconnect a few weeks later at a mountain resort, and she's apparently got another swindle going with a wealthy man carrying 5 million Swiss francs in an attache case. Obviously Betty's going to make a play for it, but is Victor going to be in on the deal too? Or is he going to try to nab it all for himself?
Continue reading: The Swindle Review
Continue reading: L'Enfer Review
With Sunday, the camera watches the characters with a sympathetic eye to the influence of their environment. The characters seem shot without the effects of makeup, and the camera gets so close up that one can almost imagine having a conversation with them instead of merely watching a screen. Lies are acceptable because the person receiving them doesn't mind. The two protagonists are happier for having shared that day and this evokes an infectious warmth.
Continue reading: Signs & Wonders Review
Many times violence is linked with politics, war, famine, natural disaster but sometimes it comes from nowhere and for no reason at all. This violence, the unexpected, the absurd, is most shocking. In her critical book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt outlined her thesis of the "banality of evil" to explain how the Nazis could murder 6 million Jews. Arndt believed that the evil of the Nazis was a banality to suffering and death - the failure of humanity to buck the system, to challenge immorality. The excuse, "everyone else was doing it," made the crimes all the more hideous.
Continue reading: Deep Crimson Review
Watched again with a more mature and critical eye nearly 10 years later I didn't nod off, but impatient types will find the film slow and difficult, and to some extent, that's what Kieslowski wanted. Based on the colors and ideals of the French flag, Blue focuses on the idea of "liberty," though not in any political sense. Rather, the film tells a deeply personal story of loss and salvation, Juliette Binoche owning the lead as a woman whose husband and daughter are suddenly killed in a car wreck. Binoche's Julie then tries to piece her life back together -- not by visiting the past, but by creating a new future for herself, free from the trappings of yesterday. But of course, it's the past that refuses to let go, as old acquintances track her down and untold truths begin to surface.
Continue reading: Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu) Review
Following a clearly telegraphed prologue in a classroom for the deaf where no one can figure out what a little girl is miming (theme: miscommunication), Haneke details within a single, unbroken shot four characters -- a young man, his brother's girlfriend, a homeless woman, an angry black schoolteacher -- whose paths cross on a busy Paris street corner. The young man, Jean (Alexandre Hamidi) tosses a crumpled bag into the lap of the homeless woman (Luminita Gheorghiu), a motiveless crime springing from his own insouciance. The black teacher (Ona Lu Yenke) demands the youth apologize, using physical force to make his point. The police break it up, taking the black man away in handcuffs. Race, class, righteousness, and passive observance collide, and each party involved carries the moral baggage.
Continue reading: Code Unknown Review
Working on the theory of "equality," the story is really about a hapless Polish man named Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), who finds himself dumped and divorced by French wife Dominique (Delpy) when he is unable to consummate their marriage. Penniless, he can't even afford to return home to Poland, and eventually he enlists the aid of a helpful stranger (Janusz Gajos) to get him back -- by checking him through on a flight in his luggage. And even this goes awry, as the bag is stolen by Russian mobsters.
Continue reading: White (Trois Couleurs: Blanc) Review
Kiarostami essentially traps us in a sardine-can automobile listening to candid talks between a young woman driver (Mania Akbari) and her varying companions: a prostitute, an old woman, a sister who has fallen in love with the wrong guy (a fairly conventional subplot), and mostly her fresh mouthed son played by the delightful Amin Maher, whose scream of, "I like shouting!" clears the air of an otherwise low-key conversation film.
Continue reading: Ten Review
Jacques Doillon's latest film, Petits Frères, takes us through the daily adventures of a cross section of poor teenagers on the fringes of Parisian society. Shot with the touch of a documentarian eye, it is a fond portrait of kids who are forced to grow up too fast.
Continue reading: Petits Frères Review
Sandrine Bonnaire (so memorable in East/West) plays a simple maid named Sophie -- so simple in fact that she doesn't know how to read. Hired on by an affluent family living in a large estate in a small town in the north of France, she proves herself an impeccable housekeeper. But when the man of the house calls home for her to fetch files off her desk or the matriarch hands her the shopping list, she invents excuses as to why they can't be done, all in an effort to hide her illiteracy.
Continue reading: La Cérémonie Review
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