Happy As Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) (2018)

ALICE ROHRWACHER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, 2018.  Tempesta, Amka Films Productions, Ad Vitam Production, Pola Pandora Filmproduktions, Rai Cinema, RSI-Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Arte France, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Regione Lazio, Office Fédéral de la Culture, Fonds Eurimages du Conseil de l’Europe.  Screenplay by…

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Tale Of Tales (Il Racconto Dei Racconti)

BB.5 (out of 5) Matteo Garrone turns away from the harsh contemporary realities of his recent films and applies his dark style to an adaptation of three fairy tales by seventeenth century storyteller Giambattista Basile. Salma Hayek is a queen who will do anything to have a child and must deal with the consequences of her determination, two aged sisters…

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Youth

BBBB (out of 5) Famous composer and conductor Michael Caine and filmmaker Harvey Keitel are old friends staying at a luxurious resort in Switzerland, Caine retired from conducting music and Keitel working on his latest film with his screenwriting team. Surrounding them are bodies old and young that spin them off into contemplations of their…

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Louder Than Bombs

BB (out of 5) A family is in shreds following the death of their matriarch (Isabelle Huppert), a photographer famous for her unflinching images of conflict zones who gave up war zones for suburbia and died in a car accident.  Her husband (Gabriel Byrne) is at a loss as to how to communicate with his angst-ridden…

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My Mother (Mia Madre)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Nanni Moretti combines humour with sentiment in this semi-autobiographical tale of a filmmaker (Margherita Buy, filling in for Moretti himself) who is trying to make a politically-minded film with an exasperating Italian-American movie star (John Turturro) while dealing with her mother’s decline in health.  Filming all day and visiting her former Latin…

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The Dust Of Time (Trilogia II: I Skoni Tou Hronou)

BBB (out of 5) Theo Angelopoulos follows up The Weeping Meadow with the second of a proposed trilogy focusing on the last century of Greek history, as seen through his impressionistic style.  Willem Dafoe plays a filmmaker who is in production on a period piece about his parents, Greek citizens of Russia who were separated just…

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Himalaya (Himalaya–L’Enfance D’Un Chef) (Caravan)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Gorgeously photographed triptych of the beautiful mountainsides of Tibet, centering on the story of nomadic saltmen who brave harsh weather, a devastating climate and feuds between families to carry their salt to where they must sell it and bring back provisions for their homes. Eric Valli has definitely done a superb…

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The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)

BBBB (out of 5) Paolo Sorrentino turns his camera on the ritzy citizens of Rome’s high society for an update of La Dolce Vita that begins where Fellini’s film ended off:  rather than a soul degraded by the discovery of banality beneath a world that was originally so seductive, we start with a journalist (Toni…

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Il Divo (Il divo: La spettacolare vita di Giulio Andreotti)

BBB.5 (out of 5) The superbly fascinating career of Giulio Andreotti is given the impressionist treatment in this gorgeously filmed drama by Paolo Sorrentino. Toni Servillo is outstanding in the lead role, with excellent makeup work helping to transform him into the Italian Prime Minister who won seven elections before his final term ended in scandal…

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Winged Migration (Le Peuple Migrateur)

BBBB (out of 5) Filmmaker, actor and producer Jacques Perrin (Microcosmos, Z) spent four years with his film crew tracking the migratory patterns of all manner of species of birds around the world. The result is this breathtaking documentary, one which captures the full beauty of these majestic creatures as they follow their instincts back…

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Artemisia

BB.5 (out of 5) What begins as a fascinating examination of a society that won’t allow the superior talent of seventeenth-century Artemisia Gentileschi to work or study because of her gender descends into a boring courtroom drama centering around her affair with her much older mentor. Valentina Cervi gives a passionate performance, but otherwise there’s little to recommend it…

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