February 29, 2008 |
With "The Duchess of Langeais," French New Wave pioneer Jacques Rivette has brought the Balzac short story to screen as a superb chamber drama. His is a graceful work of austerity and formality that perfectly captures the chaos of repressed emotions that see beneath the rigid conventions of aristocratic society.
May 30, 1997 |
"Up/Down/Fragile," which launches a series of French films at the Grande 4-Plex, is not like any musical you have ever seen, but then its director, New Wave pioneer Jacques Rivette, is not like other filmmakers, either. To begin with, more often than not, Rivette favors long films. When was the last time you saw a musical that clocked in at 2 hours and 44 minutes, had no singing and dancing numbers in its first hour and not much plot until yet another hour?
April 11, 2010 |
Gillo Pontecorvo's "Kapò," a concentration-camp drama from 1959, is neither a great nor a terrible movie, but it has a special place in the history of Holocaust films (and of film criticism). It is a flash point in a long-running debate -- one that surrounds films as different as "Schindler's List" and "Inglourious Basterds" -- about the responsibilities and the limitations of cinema when it comes to depicting a historical atrocity. "Kapò" is being released this week on DVD through Criterion's Essential Art House line, which offers no-frills editions of titles from the company's back catalog at a reduced price ($19.
September 14, 1991 |
"Five 'Lost' French Films" series has begun at the Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica with a once-banned Jacques Rivette masterpiece, "The Nun" ("La Religeuse"), which last had a Los Angeles run in 1972. It is so harrowing, so overwhelming, that it leaves an indelible impression. The intensity of its spirituality ranks it alongside the finest achievements of Robert Bresson and Carl Dreyer.
October 5, 2001 |
"Va Savoir" offers many pleasures, but none so rare or satisfying as the chance to watch a film find itself. For this masterful celebration starts off slowly, even uncertainly, giving no hint of the rich and elegant exploration of love, jealousy and animal attraction it will in all good time become. If that final phrase sounds a bit Shakespearean, it should.
November 8, 1991 |
For more than 35 years, Michel Piccoli has been one of France's finest, most versatile actors in television and the theater, and has worked in film for virtually every major French director. Sixty-five-year-old Piccoli, who started going bald at an early age, has changed very little over the decades and continues to play romantic leads without straining.