Michael Lonsdale

Michael Lonsdale

Michael Lonsdale Quick Links

Video Film RSS

Free Men Review


Very Good
In German-occupied Paris, Younes (Rahim) is a young Algerian who sells black-market goods to North African immigrants. When he's arrested, the cops offer him freedom if he agrees to spy on a local mosque leader (Lonsdale) who's suspected of hiding Jews by giving them identity papers saying they are Muslims. At the mosque, Younes falls for the mysterious Leila (Azabal) and befriends the gifted musician Salim (Shalaby). And he's unnerved to discover that Leila is actually a notorious resistance fighter, while Salim is secretly Jewish.Filmmaker Ferroukhi tells this story with a strong attention to detail, keeping the period settings nicely understated while concentrating on the character interaction, which is complex and involving. But a slow-burning approach, combined with the dry screenplay, never injects much emotional energy into the film, which leaves it feeling almost like a museum piece: a meticulous retelling of an important story without artistic passion.

That said, the actors are all terrific, most notably the magnetic Rahim, through whose eyes we watch the events unfold. He beautifully plays Younes' quiet discovery of each layer of truth, from his initial carefree lawlessness to agreeing to help the authorities and ultimately to risking his life to save people he perhaps should be shunning. But the film beautifully points out that Islam isn't about hating the Jews: it's about respecting human life.And there's a lot more going on in the story. Strong subplots involving both Leila and Salim are only barely touched upon and could actually be expanded into much more engaging movies than this one. And this is a refreshingly restrained depiction of the Nazis. Sure, they're tenacious and inhuman, but they're also never vilified into cartoon villains, which subtly makes them even more chilling. And even if it lacks any real kick, the film is an important account of normal, flawed people doing what they can in terrible circumstances.

Continue reading: Free Men Review

Of Gods And Men [Des Hommes Et Des Dieux] Review


Essential
With very little action, this film builds almost unbearable tension by carefully examining some moral questions in a precarious situation that's based on true events. And in the process, it becomes one of the most important films in recent memory.

Christian (Wilson) is the leader of a group of eight French monks living in a Catholic monastery in rural Algeria. Their only mission is to pray and serve the local people, and over the generations they have become an integral part of the community. When fundamentalist tensions spill into violence in the country around them, they have a difficult decision to make: abandon the people and flee home to France or stand up to the injustice. Opinions are split, but they opt to seek an answer together. And their decision could cost them their lives.

Continue reading: Of Gods And Men [Des Hommes Et Des Dieux] Review

Agora Review


OK
Ambitious in scope, this film feels over-serious and oddly cold. Fans of historical dramas may love it, but you're in trouble when theories about the sun and earth are more involving than the interpersonal dramas.

In 4th century Alexandria, Hypatia (Weisz) is a noted philosopher who teaches at the famed library. But the world around her is changing, as Greek and Egyptian beliefs conflict with Christians and Jews. And with the Roman Empire gaining power, the Christians have the edge. As Hypatia continues to explore her far-advanced theories about the earth and the universe, she finds herself caught between two men who love her: loyal servant Davus (Minghella) and the civic leader Orestes (Isaac). And the fundamentalist Romans aren't happy with her radical thoughts.

Continue reading: Agora Review

Agora Trailer


Set in Alexandria in 391 A.D. Agora tells the story of the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia. Knowing her city's in dire turmoil and about to fall to new christian rule, the only safe haven was in the cities legendary library which was housed inside it's own walls.

Continue: Agora Trailer

The Last Mistress Review


Excellent
After years of lascivious experiments and audience-bludgeoning anti-romances, French provocateur Catherine Breillat pulls an unexpectedly engrossing and lurid film out of Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly's 19th-century novel Un Vieille Maitresse, the tale of a French dandy and the 36-year-old "Old Mistress" whom he attempts to do away with before he marries the daughter of famed nobility. Breillat's latest presents not only one of the great performances of this year and the director's most accessible work to date, but also introduces a character of true lustful ferocity unlike few before: a venomous madame who makes Anne Boleyn look like Anne of Green Gables.

Her name is Vellini (Asia Argento). It's rumored she's the flamboyant progeny of an Italian priestess and a Spanish matador. She licks fresh blood off of gaping wounds. The ringlets of her hair resemble a heart turned on its head. It's said she can outstare the sun and the second you get your first glimpse at Argento laying on her canapé, you believe it sans aucun doute. Though he first casts her off as an "ugly mutt," the young playboy Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Aït Aattou) takes it as his task to possess this creature despite her blatant loathing of him. Eventually they exile themselves to Argentina and bear a daughter, only to see her die from the sting of a scorpion. Unchained and thrown into an abyss of grief, Argento's bellowing growl of despair could shred the very screen.

Continue reading: The Last Mistress Review

Heartbeat Detector Review


Excellent
It seems that the old dictum of never building a house on an ancient Indian burial ground goes double, if not triple, for corporations. For those who consider Enron, Halliburton, and Boeing graveyards of crimes too devious to mention, Nicolas Klotz's Heartbeat Detector introduces SC Farb, a company so thoroughly soulless and gleefully-unaware of humanity that it has a psychiatrist on staff just to make sure no one with a healthy pulse gets in.

That psychiatrist goes by the name Simon Kessler (the reliable Mathieu Amalric) and make no mistake, he's a bigger lunatic than any of the well-groomed Gucci tards that find their way into his office. At a bar nearby, he asks the luminous Louisa (Laetitia Spigarelli) to play the piano naked for him. He later discards her over a piece of corporate mail. In between these moments of lucid confusion, he finds time to interview perspective employees and catch quickies with a blonde pants-suit named Isabelle (Delphine Chuillot). It's when Kessler is asked by his boss, the perfectly-named Karl Rose (a potently-glacial Jean-Pierre Kalfon), to begin looking at SC Farb's CEO Mathias Jüst (the astounding Michael Lonsdale, who played Amalric's father in Munich) that the cerebral pistons begin firing.

Continue reading: Heartbeat Detector Review

5x2 Review


Very Good
François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool) channels Ingmar Bergman rather than regular muses Alfred Hitchcock and Claude Chabrol for 5x2, the portrait of a disintegrating marriage that focuses on five key instances in the troubled couple's history. Ozon's tale is told in reverse chronologically, beginning with divorce proceedings and ending with a romantic first meeting, though unlike Gaspar Noé's similarly flip-flopped Irreversible, Ozon's narrative structure isn't simply a gimmick designed to gussy up otherwise straightforward material; rather, the upside-down construction strives to upend viewers' commonly held perceptions about the reasons why once-amorous relationships end in heartbreak. Assembled with more than a hint of repetition and, as a result, a frustrating lack of unexpected revelations, Ozon's latest peters out before its anticlimactic conclusion. Yet thanks to his sterling stars and a directorial attentiveness, the filmmaker crafts a mature portrait of a relationship's thorny complexity while coloring his domestic drama with an undercurrent of looming menace and bittersweet inevitability.

Ozon's story recounts the ill-fated union of Marion (Valerie Bruni Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss), a wife and husband who, at film's start, are shown quietly finalizing their divorce in a drab office, their faces pained but stoic reflections of their relief, misery and nervousness over the end of their matrimony. Clearly indebted - in spirit if not in specifics - to Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (including Gilles' beard, a nod to Erland Josephson's), 5x2 (before heading back in time) subsequently moves from this depressing administrative locale to a furtive, desperate motel reunion between the newly single Marion and Gilles where attempts to rekindle the sexual fire ends in physical and emotional abuse. This powerhouse confrontation finds Bruni Tedeschi and Freiss, their forlorn eyes captured in close-up, expressing without words the callous selfishness, lack of communication, and physical and emotional detachment that doomed their relationship. And the scene ignites the film with a promise of eye-opening bombshells to come about the couple's dissolution via the ensuing backwards procession through a dinner party with Gilles' brother and his lover, Gilles' injurious cowardice during the birth of his son, their drunken wedding night, and their first encounter on a tropical beach.

Continue reading: 5x2 Review

Moonraker Review


Good
Most rational observers agree that Moonraker is without a doubt the most absurd James Bond movie -- definitely of the Roger Moore era and possibly of all time. And it's exactly that ridiculousness that makes it so enjoyable. Here we have a villain (Michael Lonsdale) who builds a giant space fleet with the goal of living in his secret space station while he poisons all humans on earth (he's building a "perfect" society) -- and he wears a suit the entire time, even while flying his Moonraker spacecraft! Bond's adventures are suitably globetrotting -- and of course, this is the only film where he actually got to go into space, thanks to his cohort, Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles). In addition to the unforgettable Jaws (Richard Kiel), the film features what might be the best double entendre ever, this one from Q as Bond is seen coupling with Holly in low-grav as he orbits the earth: "I think he's attempting re-entry!" I'll say.

Continue reading: Moonraker Review

Murmur Of The Heart Review


Excellent
When the French come of age, they really come of age. That is, I don't recall any of the kids in Stand By Me having sex with his mother.

Hope that doesn't ruin anything for you,but you ought to be aware what you're getting into with Louis Malle's seminal work, Murmur of the Heart, often described as a "lighthearted" film and Malle's best work, particularly of the movies he made in his homeland of France.

Continue reading: Murmur Of The Heart Review

Murmur Of The Heart Review


Excellent
When the French come of age, they really come of age. That is, I don't recall any of the kids in Stand By Me having sex with his mother.

Hope that doesn't ruin anything for you,but you ought to be aware what you're getting into with Louis Malle's seminal work, Murmur of the Heart, often described as a "lighthearted" film and Malle's best work, particularly of the movies he made in his homeland of France.

Continue reading: Murmur Of The Heart Review

Michael Lonsdale

Michael Lonsdale Quick Links

Video Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Actor


Advertisement
Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

The flat at Hauptstrasse 155 was where Bowie and Iggy lived between 1976 and 1978 in the city, which inspired the so-called 'Berlin trilogy' albums.

Rupert Grint To Star In TV Re-Make Of 'Snatch'

Rupert Grint To Star In TV Re-Make Of 'Snatch'

Grint will star alongside Dougray Scott and Ed Westwick in a 10-part TV series for Sony's streaming platform Crackle.

Coldplay Invite James Corden Onstage To Play Prince Tribute

Coldplay Invite James Corden Onstage To Play Prince Tribute

The Brits teamed up at the Hollywood Rose Bowl to perform a cover of The Purple One's 'Nothing Compares 2 U'.

Advertisement

Michael Lonsdale Movies

Free Men Movie Review

Free Men Movie Review

In German-occupied Paris, Younes (Rahim) is a young Algerian who sells black-market goods to North...

Of Gods and Men [Des Hommes et des Dieux] Movie Review

Of Gods and Men [Des Hommes et des Dieux] Movie Review

With very little action, this film builds almost unbearable tension by carefully examining some moral...

Agora Movie Review

Agora Movie Review

Ambitious in scope, this film feels over-serious and oddly cold. Fans of historical dramas may...

Agora Trailer

Agora Trailer

Set in Alexandria in 391 A.D. Agora tells the story of the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia. Knowing...

The Last Mistress Movie Review

The Last Mistress Movie Review

After years of lascivious experiments and audience-bludgeoning anti-romances, French provocateur Catherine Breillat pulls an unexpectedly...

5x2 Movie Review

5x2 Movie Review

François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool) channels Ingmar Bergman rather than regular muses Alfred...

Advertisement
Munich Movie Review

Munich Movie Review

It's been a long, tough road watching Steven Spielberg grow up. Too often, the great...

5x2 (In Subtitled French) Movie Review

5x2 (In Subtitled French) Movie Review

Opening with an extended scene of such dry divorce-relat=edlegalese that after a while it becomes...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.