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  • The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque

    The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque

    ★★★★★

    Here are some notes I wrote to a couple of my friends on one of my favorite films ever. It’s been a while since my last viewing, but I figured I’d get some thoughts down on the occasion of Eric Rohmer’s Centennial. I saw this film twice in 2018, once at home in Torrance, CA and once at the French Institute Alliance Française in NYC, with the great Pascal Greggory in attendance.

    Here’s something I said to Bill Krohn while…

  • When Margaux Meets Margaux

    When Margaux Meets Margaux

    ★★★½

    I wrote the following review in the hopes that it would help me win a trip to Paris. Alas, that didn't happen, so I will leave this review here while I lick my wounds. Full disclosure, I made some modifications to the piece since submitting.

    When Margaux Meets Margaux is a film that is teeming with misdirection. The film’s premise has a clear-cut genre parallel, though it might not occur to the viewer to think of said genre given the…

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  • Cruising

    Cruising

    ★★★★½

    “Art frees us from all our sentiments, even good ones and justifies its amorality by returning to ethics what it had borrowed.” – Eric Rohmer

    It’s impossible for me to discuss to this film without dealing with the shadow cast by the controversy over its depiction of a homosexual subculture. While watching early scenes in the West Village bar called The Cock Pit full of detached lateral tracking shots surveying aggressive displays of homosexuality, I wondered whether films have a…

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★½

    If I were to select any working director whose films are the opposite of what I think the cinema should be, the honor would likely go to Denis Villeneuve. Mr. Villeneuve excels in pulpy thrillers that pile contrivance upon contrivance to reveal “important” and “serious” takes on zeitgeisty issues ranging from cycles of violence in a Lebanon-ish Middle Eastern country in INCENDIES, Bush-era torture in PRISONERS and modern relationship ennui a la carte in ENEMY. The latest Villeneuve hot topic…