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  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★

    What happens when those who thrive on control find it slipping away? French Foreign Legion sergeant Galoup (Leos Carax regular Denis Lavant) violently fumbles with this quandary in Claire Denis’ masterful fifth feature, set in the Horn of Africa in the peacetime Republic of Djibouti. Like the rusting relics of this country’s militarized past, the chinks in Galoup’s armor begin to show as he struggles to maintain authority over his troops with the quiet desperation of a man newly drained…

  • Demonlover

    Demonlover

    ★★★★

    Critically maligned after it was unleashed upon the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Assayas’ underseen, ice-cold cyber thriller hurtles 100 MPH down the transgressive path toward New French Extremity. The ruthless relations of international business and a grab-bag of post-9/11, globalized industry set the stage upon which Demonlover’s 3-D animated porn-slinging players – including the frigid Connie Nielsen, alluring Gina Gershon, and a French-speaking Chloe Sevigny – connive, drug, threaten, and seduce their way toward ultimate financial control over one salacious,…

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  • The Gold Diggers

    The Gold Diggers

    ★★★★★

    Drawing from the same well of avant-garde anti-structure as enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard and playwright Bertolt Brecht, Sally Potter’s whip-smart THE GOLD DIGGERS is positively pregnant with cultural and political signifiers that combine to form a singular work in the feminist countercinema space. Employing an all-female crew to shoot, compose, and design this proto-Lynchian world of romantic surrealism, the British filmmaker establishes herself as a trailblazer in this “search for the secret of [her] own transformation.” Babette Mangolte’s career-best cinematography elucidates a visual and thematic sendup of silent comedies, Depression-era musicals, and European arthouse cinema in an elegant, non-narrative ode to--and critique of--traditional Hollywood moviemaking.

  • Amarcord

    Amarcord

    ★★★★★

    Fellini’s last major commercial success, this early-’70s, sublime fantasy/drama might also be the Italian master’s most triumphantly auto-biographical and unapologetically nostalgic effort. Amarcord, a Northern Italian term that translates to “I remember,” employs the teenaged Titta as guide through the uncannily familiar, absurd comedy of everyday life in a small, seaside village. Immersing us in the seasons, births, marriages, and deaths of the caricatural residents of Italy’s Borgo San Giuliano—a community still very much beholden the Fascist zeitgeist of the…