France

John Frankenheimer & Arthur Penn – The Train (1964)

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo. Read More »

Georges Franju – Nuits rouges AKA Shadowman [+Extra] (1974)

Film Review
Georges Franju’s last film for the cinema was to be his second homage to the silent Louis Feuillade crime serials of the 1910s – the first being his inspired remake of Judex in 1963. Nuits rouges is a curious cinematic beast that owes as much to the adolescent American fantasy-thriller serials of the 1940s and 1960s as it does to Feuillade. It is certainly not what you would have expected from a man with a reputation as a serious filmmaker and co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, France’s national film library. Read More »

Wim Wenders – Don’t Come Knocking (2005)

Quote:
With Don’t Come Knocking, Wim Wenders revisits territory, both literal and metaphorical, first explored in Paris, Texas. Not only does he return to the Southwest, but Sam Shepard is back as co-writer. This time, he’s also the star. His Howard Spence is a movie cowboy who’s had enough. One day while working in Monument Valley, he takes off his boots and hops a train to Nevada to see his mother (Eva Marie Saint, lovely as ever). Little does he know that Sutter (Tim Roth), a by-the-books bondsman, is hot on his trail. Next, Spence travels to Montana where a sad young woman named Sky (Sarah Polley) is recovering from a recent death, while an angry young man named Earl (Gabriel Mann), who sounds much like Chris Isaak, plies the troubadour trade. Spence doesn’t know it yet, but they’re the results of a rambunctious past that will soon “come knocking,” as it were. Read More »

Claire Denis – White Material (2009)

Quote:
A textured panorama of modern day Africa’s dynamic and volatile cross-cultural landscape, Claire Denis’s White Material is an abstract and elemental, if oddly sterile rumination on colonial legacy and socioeconomic stagnation. Unfolding in episodic flashbacks as second-generation coffee plantation owner, Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) scrambles to make her way back home after a forced evacuation of European settlers in light of an escalating civil war, the film structurally interweaves the parallel lives of the Vial family, a band of roving child soldiers scouring the countryside for “white material” trophies from fleeing settlers, and a charismatic military officer turned rebel leader known as the Boxer (Isaach De Bankolé) who has gone into hiding to recover from injuries sustained during a recent skirmish. Read More »

Sacha Guitry – Je l’ai été 3 fois! AKA I Was It Three Times (1952)

Jean Renneval, a mature and attractive stage actor, seduces Thérèse Verdier, a beautiful woman whom he notices attending the play one evening. Henri Verdier, her husband, is about to leave in a business appointment, but he makes arrangements with Henriette – Thérèse’s friend – to stay at his place, and sleep there after dinner. He has learned from his first two earlier wives: Lucie cuckoo-ed him with Hector van Broken, his look-a-like; and Juliette with the sultan Hammanlif. His friend Marinier goes with him in the car to the railway station, and during their conversation, Verdier decides to return home – only to find he has been betrayed a third time. Renneval leaves the bedroom already dressed and composed with his costume of cardinal, and with his rhetoric convinces Verdier to accept his fate. Read More »

René Clément – Soigne ton gauche AKA Watch Your Left (1936)

A boxer is out in the country with his entourage, training for his next fight. Meanwhile, on the farm nearby, Roger is neglecting his chores. As he watches the boxer and his sparring partners at work, Roger starts to fantasize about being a boxer himself. Then, when none of the boxer’s sparring partners can continue, he is asked to fill in, although he doesn’t know anything about how to box. Read More »

Jacques Tati – L’école des facteurs AKA The School for Postmen (1947)

Synopsis:
School for Postmen (French: L’École des facteurs) is a short film directed by Jacques Tati in 1947. Tati plays a French postman adamant to prove he can be just as fast as American postmen at delivering mail. The film includes several sight gags that involve his bicycle. He replicated most of the action here in his first major feature film, Jour de fête, released two years later. Read More »