Radiance (Hikari) (2017)

NAOMI KAWASE Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.  Japan/France, 2017.  Comme des Cinémas, Kino Films, Kumie, MK2 Productions.  Screenplay by Naomi Kawase.  Produced by Naoya Kinoshita, Masa Sawada, Yumiko Takebe.  Music by Ibrahim Maalouf.  Film Editing by Tina Baz.  Cannes Film Festival 2017.  Toronto International Film Festival 2017. Ayame Misaki is excellent as a woman who has been assigned the task of writing…

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Kedma

BB (out of 5) The title is the name of a ship that brings refugees to a newly forming Israel following the devastation of life for Jews in Europe during World War II.  People barely clinging to survival arrive in a land already overcome with strife, shot at by the English while all around them…

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It’s Only The End Of The World (Juste La Fin Du Monde)

BB (out of 5) Gaspard Ulliel is heading home to his exasperating mother (Nathalie Baye), boorish brother (Vincent Cassel) and rebellious sister (Léa Seydoux) to deliver some big news: he is dying.  When he arrives, he meets his sister in law (Marion Cotillard) and is immediately set upon by the others who have a world’s worth…

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Mountains May Depart (Shan he gu ren)

BB.5 (out of 5) Jia Zhang-ke leaves behind the contemplative, art house brilliance of earlier films and instead creates a melodramatic soap opera for popular appeal; his ability to pinpoint the vulnerabilities within characters who put up a false front continues to serve him well, but his plot leaves much to be desired.  It originally…

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The Fish Child (El Niño Pez)

BB (out of 5) Lucia Puenzo follows her directorial debut XXY with this dreary, unlikeable drama. The daughter of a wealthy politician is madly in love with her native maid, and the two of them save money for the day that they plan to run away. After the politician ends up murdered, his daughter goes…

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Signs And Wonders

BB.5 (out of 5) In this overly obscure thriller-drama, an American businessman living in Athens (Stellan Skarsgård) is obsessed with omens, seeing in every small detail a possible clue as to what might be coming next. After breaking up with his mistress (Deborah Kara Unger), he reconnects with her by chance on a skiing trip…

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Paranoid Park

BBB (out of 5) Gus Van Sant continues to explore the fascinating (to him) world of shirtless skinny teenagers with this miniature foray into the psyche of a high school student.  Young Gabe Nevins spends his free time away from high school and girlfriend Taylor Momsen (most famous as Ron Howard’s Cindy Lou Who) on a…

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On The Road

BBB (out of 5) At long last, after decades of false starts and development hell, Francis Ford Coppola’s dream of bringing Jack Kerouac’s milestone novel to the big screen has come true, with Coppola relegating the director seat to Walter Salles and keeping himself on as producer.  The narrative follows the fictionalized members of Kerouac’s…

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Like Someone In Love (2012)

ABBAS KIAROSTAMI Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  France/Japan, 2012.  Centre National du Cinéma et de L’image Animée, Euro Space, MK2 Productions.  Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami.  Cinematography by Katsumi Yanagijima.  Produced by Abbas Kiarostami.  Music by Elise Luguern.  Film Editing by Bahman Kiarostami.  Cannes Film Festival 2012.  Toronto International Film Festival 2012.   Abbas Kiarostami had such success with his first film outside his native Iran,…

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Slow Motion (Every Man For Himself) (Sauve Qui Peut La Vie)

BBB (out of 5) Jean-Luc Godard called this his “second first film”, as it marks the latter half of his career when his style became even more introverted and incomprehensible than before (though this one is much more linear and enjoyable than later painful indulgences such as Passion and Eloge De L’Amour would be). Jacques Dutronc plays a…

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Au Revoir, Les Enfants

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Instant classic by the magnificent Louis Malle, based on his own memories of growing up in Nazi-occupied France. A young boy lives at his Catholic boarding school in the French countryside and becomes friends with a boy he later realizes is Jewish and has been hidden at the institution by its…

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Laurence Anyways

BB.5 (out of 5) He teaches classes by day and carouses with his live-in girlfriend by night, until one evening an admission is made and a secret must come out: Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) has always believed that he is a woman born in the body of a man, and if he is going to mentally…

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