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  • Journey to Italy

    Journey to Italy

    ★★★★★

    Ingrid Bergman exploring the museum is me watching Journey to Italy, astonished by the lively immediacy of art from the past, not at all "ascetic images" but expressive of their time and reaching into my own.

    I know some feel the ending is rushed and unearned, and everyone has a right to their own opinion and all that, but uhhh they're wrong. All the external bitterness, the private revelations and yearnings, the insecurity and discovery of being in a new…

  • Charulata

    Charulata

    ★★★★★

    I'm amazed once again by the elegance and delicate empathy of Satyajit Ray's filmmaking. Take the sequence where Charulata finally summons up the courage to write. First, a dot of ink on an empty page, promising and terrifying. A close-up of Charulata, deep in thought (as played by Madhabi Mukherjee, so wonderful here and in The Big City, it's an electric moment free of any self-consciousness - she fully inhabits Charulata). She scratches out a few titles in Bengali, before…

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  • Holiday Affair

    Holiday Affair

    ★★★

    Part of me wishes this had just been a Yuletide tale of single mom Janet Leigh scamming NYC department stores before going home to spend time with little Timmy (one of the few kids-in-an-old-movie who is as adorably precocious as intended).

    But Holiday Affair is actually a love triangle romantic comedy, a funny and enjoyable one, but also very stressful? Everyone's constantly telling Janet Leigh how to feel and I fully expected Robert Mitchum to whip out a switchblade at any moment.

    The opening and closing trick shots of the toy train are pure Christmas movie magic.

  • Magdana's Donkey

    Magdana's Donkey

    ★★★½

    Georgian Bicycle Thieves, but replace the bike with Lurdja, the most adorable donkey. Doesn't do much differently from other neorealist or Soviet social realist stories, but it's a charming and moving little gem.

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  • The Servant

    The Servant

    ★★★★½

    Class rebellion and social upheavals of the 60s as bisexual seduction? I'm into it, and was very willingly seduced by the slinkiest camerawork and sneakiest Dirk Bogarde.

  • Three Wishes for Cinderella

    Three Wishes for Cinderella

    ★★★½

    Something so earthy and charming about Eastern European fairy tales.

    The first thing this Cinderella says to the prince is "when hell freezes over, asshole!" Disney could never!