Regis Wargnier

Regis Wargnier

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East/west Review


Essential
Academy Award-winning director Régis Wargnier (Indochine, A French Woman, Lumiere and Company) returns to the Oscar-caliber arena with this multilingual period drama about a family lured back to Stalinist Russia under a false promise of amnesty. Wargnier's nomination for East-West is certainly deserved.

Russian emigrants Alexei (Oleg Menchikov--Barber of Siberia, The Kiss) and Marie Golovine (Sandrine Bonnaire--Circle of Passion, Les Innocents) receive a disappointing welcome when they step off the boat in Odessa with their young son, Serioja (played by Ruben Tapiero and Erwan Baynaud). But, because of Alexei's medical skills, the family is spared execution and shipped off to Kiev to share meager quarters with a household of alcoholic miscreants--including a strapping young swimmer named Sacha (Serguei Bodrov Jr.) Wracked with guilt over the miscalculation that has landed his family in captivity, Alexei struggles to protect his foreign-born wife while avoiding the scrutiny of a fear-ridden polity. Hope stirs when French actress Gabrielle Develay (Catherine Deneuve--Indochine, The Hunger, The Last Metro, Belle De Jour) comes to perform in the local theater.

Continue reading: East/west Review

Femme Fatale Review


OK

A soap-opera quality twist in the last 20 minutes of Brian De Palma's erotic noir thriller "Femme Fatale" almost puts the kibosh on what is otherwise a sumptuous work of B-movie imagination.

From its complex, spectacularly executed and near-silent opening-act heist -- in which a beautiful, sexy, icy-tough thief (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) lifts a diamond-encrusted, barely-there bustier off a director's arm-candy date at the Cannes Film Festival -- to the anti-heroine's later seduction and set-up of an unsuspecting Paris paparazzi (Antonio Banderas) for her own kidnapping, this picture is an engrossingly elaborate and stylish affair.

Romijn-Stamos gives a highly charged, chameleonic performance as Laure, an American con artist who is forced to disappear after the jewelry pinch goes bad and she double-crosses her partners in the crime. Mistaken, in a far-fetched coincidence, for a young widow (also played by Romijn-Stamos) who is suicidal over the deaths of her husband and daughter, she swipes her look-alike's passport, posses as a French girl and meets a multi-millionaire (Peter Coyote) on a flight to America.

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