Thursday, May 10, 2018

White Material

2009, France, directed by Claire Denis

Isabelle Huppert in is top form here, while Claire Denis's work is typically strong, and less elliptical than in some of her 2000s work -- which is perhaps the more effective for this particular film. The sense of societal collapse is cogently and succinctly sketched in, and if I still have some vague sense of discomfort about the depiction of the African continent, Denis is trying to tease out something very challenging, including in her critique of the role of white settlers, about both her own relationship with Africa and cinematic depictions thereof.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé

1955, France, directed by Robert Bresson

My first viewing of the Criterion Collection restoration of this remarkable film -- and as much as the visuals are striking, it was the soundscape that came across even more strongly on this occasion (particularly in the tension of the titular escape). I still find Bresson to be tough going at times, primarily for his unique and uncompromising approach to performance, but this is one of the key texts. Bresson's star, François Leterrier, went on to a career as a director in his own right, though in a very different register, helming several scattershot popular comedies in the 1980s. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Too Late for Tears

1949, US, directed by Byron Haskin

Lizabeth Scott is in very fine form as a very fatale femme -- stay well back. Like Woman on the Run, this is a modest film in its ambitions but the whipsaws of the plot and the performances are generally pleasurable (and Dan Duryea plays an entirely atypical Dan Duryea part -- when he's not the least sympathetic person in the movie you know you're in uncharted waters). 


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Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States