As the Allies march toward Paris in the summer of 1944, Hitler gives orders that the French capital should not fall into enemy hands, or if it does, then ‘only as a field of rubble’. The person assigned to carry out this barbaric act is Wehrmacht commander of Greater Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, who already has mines planted on the Eiffel Tower, in the Louvre and Notre Dame and on the bridges over the Seine. Nothing should be left as a reminder of the city’s former glory. However, at dawn on 25 August, Swedish Consul General Raoul Nordling steals into German headquarters through a secret underground tunnel and there starts a tension-filled game of cat and mouse as Nordling tries to persuade Choltitz to abandon his plan. Read More »
Though set in the French colony of St Pierre and Miquelon, the movie was filmed on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The French title La Veuve de Saint-Pierre contains wordplay. “Veuve” translates to “Widow”. In the 1800s the word was also slang for a guillotine.
The Widow of Saint-Pierre (French: La veuve de Saint-Pierre) is a 2000 film by Patrice Leconte with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Emir Kusturica. The film made its North American debut at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2001 for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also nominated in 2001 for two César Awards.
In 1879, on the small French island of Saint-Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland, Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica) and his friend carry a joke too far while they are drunk and murder a man. The friend dies in an accident on the way to prison. Neel is put into the custody of the Captain (Daniel Auteuil), a military officer whose wife Madame La (Juliette Binoche) is the most beautiful woman on the island. Kind-hearted and compassionate, she takes Neel on as her protégé, teaching him to read, work in the garden with her, and perform odd jobs for widows in the community. Read More »
REVIEW by Susan Doll (from facets.org):
The Czech New Wave rode the tide of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia that lasted throughout the 1960s, which accounted for their ability to make highly personal films in individual styles. At the same time, this generation attracted international attention and acclaim. However, they were not the only directors to benefit from the freer political climate. Older directors from the postwar period, and even those of the prewar generation, made films they probably could not have made earlier in their careers.
Witches’ Hammer (Kladivo na Carodejnice), adapted from a novel by Vaclav Kaplicky, was historical drama roughly based on actual events, but Vavra became particularly fascinated with the subject matter while researching the film. Witches’ Hammer is a tale about the witch trials in Czechoslovakia in the 17th century, which unfolds from the perspective of an educated priest. The priest watches as his village’s most prosperous citizens are arrested by the Inquisitor, who impounds their property. The priest tries to stop the false accusations and fear-mongering, but he himself is unjustly accused. As he started the project, Vavra grew increasingly interested in the history behind the witch trials-why it happened in a country that did not practice witchcraft, how the victims were manipulated into confessing to actions they did not commit, and why they begged for swift punishment. Read More »
Maddalena (Anna Magnani) is a screenstruck mother convinced of her daughter Maria’s (Tina Apicella) star potential. Dreaming of a better life for her family – as a means of escape from the struggles of everyday existence in working-class Rome – she invests everything, including her last penny, into the dream that her daughter will be discovered at an open casting. Read More »
From Time Out London
Slow, portentous, absolutely bloody miserable, the fiercely independent Fred Kelemen’s earlier work was the veritable essence of arthouse gloom, so much so that it often prompted unintentional giggles. After a six-year break, his latest marks a positive shift, packaging his deep-rooted existential angst within a much more involving narrative framework. Shot in lengthy takes in digital black-and-white, matching a sonic backdrop of industrial noise against grimy Riga locations, the presentation is still somewhat self-consciously doom-laden, but this time there’s an effective storyline to draw the viewer into Kelemen’s world.
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After the death of their mother, Irish youngsters Dara and Eoin are moved to France to stay with their aunt. There, the boys befriend a local English family and the impressionable Dara falls under the spell of their young daughter Bella. But when she begins to pull away, Dara’s feelings for her start to get out of hand. Written by Anonymous Read More »
ONE YEAR, TWO COMPUTERS AND AN OCEAN BETWEEN THEM
One couple, one year apart and two distant cities: Los Angeles and Barcelona. Love is Alexandra and Sergio’s only weapon and their computers their only tools to fight the 10,000 kilometers that stand in the way of their future together.
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