Topaz (1969)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1969.  Universal Pictures.  Screenplay by Samuel A. Taylor, based on the novel by Leon Uris.  Cinematography by Jack Hildyard.  Produced by Alfred Hitchcock.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Henry Bumstead.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by William H. Ziegler. Alfred Hitchcock returns to a Cold War theme following his underwhelming Torn Curtain, this…

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The World of Jacques Demy (L’univers de Jacques Demy) (1995)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  France/Belgium/Spain, 1995.  Canal+ Espana, Canal+, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Ciné Tamaris, DocStar, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel, La Sept-Arte, Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres et du Developpement International, Sofica Valor 2.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Stephane Krausz, Peter Pilafian Georges Strouve.  Music by Michel Colombier, Michel Legrand. Film Editing by Marie-Josee Audiard.  Agnes…

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Belle Toujours (2006)

MANOEL DE OLIVEIRA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  Portugal/France, 2006.  Filbox Produções, Les Films d’Ici, Instituto do Cinema, Audiovisual e Multimédia, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Radiotelevisão Portuguesa.  Screenplay by Manoel de Oliveira.  Cinematography by Sabine Lancelin.  Produced by Miguel Cadilhe.  Music by Lawrence Foster.  Production Design by Christian Marti.  Costume Design by Milena Canonero.  Film Editing by Valerie Loiseleux.  Toronto International Film Festival 2006….

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The Young Girls Turns 25 (Les Demoiselles Ont Eu 25 ans) (1993)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  France, 1993.  Ciné Tamaris.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Alexandre Auffort, Stephane Krausz, Patrick Mounoud, Georges Strouve, Agnes Varda.  Music by Michel Legrand, Jacques Loussier.  Cannes Film Festival 1993. It’s astounding how much love and affection Agnes Varda packs into 64 very short minutes. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary…

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You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu)

BB.5 (out of 5) After a famous theatrical impresario dies, the executor of his wills calls up a number of his famous collaborators (mostly members of the French film industry playing themselves) to show up at the reading of his will for a very special reason.  When they arrive, they are played a film in…

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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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Lines Of Wellington

BBB (out of 5) Raoul Ruiz was in pre-production of this epic examination of Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal in 1810 when he passed away at the age of 70, prompting producers to hire his wife Valeria Sarmiento to complete it. It’s a multi-tiered exploration of characters high and low experiencing the devastation of war as…

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French Cancan

BBB.5 (out of 5) Exuberant musical by the always reliable Jean Renoir that circumnavigates the history of the most famous nightclub in Paris history, Moulin Rouge.  Jean Gabin plays the entrepreneur who risks everything (and nearly loses it all) to open the club, courting trouble when he abandons his current lover (María Félix) in favour of…

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We Have A Pope (Habemus Papam)

BBBB (out of 5) Following the death of the pope, the international assortment of high-ranking Vatican clergy gather together to cast their votes on his replacement, each of them praying (in a myriad of languages, in one of the film’s funniest sequences) that the burden won’t fall upon them. The eventual choice is France’s Michel…

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Le Doulos

BBBB (out of 5) Terrific French detective story by Jean-Pierre Melville. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a hood who gets out of jail and decides to go in for one more score. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that his tools supplier is a police informant who could very easily turn him in. Fans of heist movies will adore all…

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Speaking Of Bunuel (Regarding Bunuel) (A Proposito De Bunuel)

BBBB (out of 5) Wonderful documentary that captures both the fascinating personality and the superb work of the greatest filmmaker of all time, Luis Bunuel.  Touching on aspects of his personal life, we enjoy glimpses into his early forays in filmmaking that led to such milestone classics as Viridiana, Belle De Jour and The Exterminating…

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The Duchess Of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)

BBBB (out of 5) Another foray into the world of the magnificent Jacques Rivette, this time adapting the work of Honore de Balzac to his own style. Jeanne Balibar plays the duchess who abandons her respectable upper-class life and marriage when she finds irresistible passion with a soldier (Guillaume Depardieu) who has gone out of his…

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