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La Bete Humaine

Jean Renoir’s generous sensibility seems at odds with the sterile determinism of the Zola novel on which this 1938 film was based. Jean Gabin is an epileptic train engineer drawn […]

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Les biches

Claude Chabrol’s humor and irony aren’t much in evidence in this 1968 work, his first “art film” after five years of genre work. The title (less racy in translation—“The Does”) […]

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Romancing the Stone

Director Robert Zemeckis displays such dazzling cinematic know-how that it’s genuinely depressing when this 1984 film falls off into the usual self-ridicule. It sometimes seems that the main task of […]

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Romeo and Juliet

Franco Zeffirelli’s athletic production of Shakespeare’s love story stars Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, with Michael York as Tybalt. Garish and goopy—a kind of West Side Story reworked into its […]

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Lumiere

Jeanne Moreau is the director, star, and, more or less, subject of this story about an actress and her circle of friends, all trying to cope with the problems of […]

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Glen or Glenda?

Ever since screenwriter David Newman wrote it up for a Film Comment article on his “Guilty Pleasures,” this grungy exploitation film from 1953 has been a staple of the underground […]

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Spoiled Children

Bertrand Tavernier’s 1977 film plays off the traditions of the French Popular Front cinema of the 30s; it’s a simply told, optimistic story of a group of high-rise tenants who […]

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The Stranger

Luchino Visconti stifles his operatic voice and prostrates himself before the altar of Camus. The result is a totally schematic vulgarization of Camus’ philosophical treatise in novel form. It’s not […]

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Beau Pere

A variant on the Lolita myth by Bertrand Blier (Get Out Your Handkerchiefs), with Patrick Dewaere as a philosophical nightclub pianist who finds himself with an amorous 14-year-old (Ariel Besse) […]

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Passion

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1982 film is centered on a Godard-like director (played by Jerzy Radziwilowicz, the Polish star of Man of Iron) who divides his time between re-creating classical painting for […]

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The Bounty

Roger Donaldson’s film of the classic tale of discipline and revolt in the British navy (1984) is far better than its predecessors, despite the dim wattage of Anthony Hopkins (as […]