Michel Subor

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White Material Review


Excellent
Claire Denis resolutely refuses to make simple movies, so this intense drama set during a civil war in central Africa feels somewhat elusive as it concentrates on emotions rather than plotting. But it's still riveting.

Maria (Huppert) is passionate about her family's coffee plantation, which she runs with her ex-husband Andre (Lambert) and her father-in-law (Subor). She's sure that a violent clash between the army and rebels will pass them by, so she works to make sure the harvest goes as planned. But Andre, now married to a local woman (Ado), is more realistic. And their late-teen son Manuel (Duvachelle) is struggling to find his identity. Meanwhile, an iconic rebel leader (De Bankole) has taken refuge in Maria's home.

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The Intruder Review


Weak
There are dozens of reviews of The Intruder online that will tell you exactly what it isn't: It isn't a conventional story, it isn't a narrative in any traditional sense of the word, and it isn't even about an intruder. What few people will actually come out and say is that it isn't really very good. It's yet another meandering piece of existentialism, signifying nothing except for what you're willing to project onto it. But director Claire Denis has built a name as an arthouse favorite based on a string of films like this, and no one's calling out the emperor.

You want this movie to be a piece about the loneliness of growing old? Sure, it can be that. You want it to be about redeeming yourself for a bad life before you die? It can be that too. It can even be a psychological mystery about spies, the black market for human organs, and illegitimate children. It's barely any of these things, but if you try real hard you can convince yourself that Denis has a point somewhere in this.

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Le Petit Soldat Review


Good
French Bruno is assigned to assassinate an Algerian sympathizer, but darn it, the hot hot hot Anna Karina gets in the way. Turns out she's a sympathizer too. Nothing much happens in this heralded thriller/romance from Jean-Luc Godard, as the film sidetracks into long idylls in hotel rooms and on the streets of France before our hero finally gets to his opponent. When he does, it's shocking, as he doesn't just shoot him in the head, he's tortured to such a degree that the film was banned in France. Interesting historically, much less so artistically.

Beau Travail Review


Weak
Claire Denis's updating and Frenchification of Herman Melville's Billy Budd -- and both turn out to be roughly as equally snoozy. The story of a sailor who spars with his captain is told slowly, sparely, and virtually entirely voiced-over. Uncompelling and tiresome, though not without a certain sense of cinematographic flair. But geez, what's with all the yoga, huh?

Continue reading: Beau Travail Review

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White Material Movie Review

White Material Movie Review

Claire Denis resolutely refuses to make simple movies, so this intense drama set during a...

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