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  • Stolen Kisses

    Stolen Kisses

    Criterion essay on Stolen Kisses, featured in the Criterion boxset The Adventures of Antoine Doinel

    The Antoine Doinel of Stolen Kisses—the third of five screen incarnations—was almost a decade older than the movingly delinquent child who electrified audiences in The 400 Blows at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival as he ran for salvation across the French countryside to the sea in one continuous tracking shot.

    The mood in Stolen Kisses is lighter and more festive, which reminds us once more…

  • Variety Lights

    Variety Lights

    Criterion Laserdisc notes for Variety Lights (August 28, 2000)

    Variety Lights (Luci del varietà, 1950) is the ironically grandiose title of an Italian movie featuring the onstage and backstage antics of a provincial troupe of lovably inept vaudeville performers. Their hand-to-mouth existence is bathed in a warm glow of compassion typical of the Italian cinema since World War II. Variety Lights has taken its place in the classical repertory as the first film directed by Federico Fellini (1929–1993), though in…

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  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Lawrence of Arabia

    If there had been no newspaper strike, and mine were a lonely voice instead of an only voice, Lawrence of Arabia might now be festooned with the superlatives accorded such previous superproductions as The Best Years of Our Lives, Around the World in 80 Days, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Ben Hur. But like its almost forgotten predecessors, Lawrence is simply another expensive mirage, dull, overlong, and coldly impersonal. Its objective is less to entertain or enlighten than…

  • The Chess Players

    The Chess Players

    ★★★★★

    Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players is said to represent a radical departure in the director's career from the Bengali-language works he has made up to now: It is his first feature in Hindi. The non-Indian viewer can hardly be expected to understand all the ramifications of this movie. The question then arises as to where The Chess Players fits in Ray's career as subtitled cinema. Actually, since much of the film is concerned with British colonialism, about a third of…