Frontier of Dawn (La Frontiere de l’Aube) (2008)

PHILIPPE GARREL Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.  France, 2008.  Cofinova 4, Rectangle Productions, StudioUrania.  Screenplay by Philippe Garrel, Marc Cholodenko, Arlette Langmann.  Cinematography by William Lubtchansky.  Produced by Edouard Weil.  Music by Jean-Claude Vannier.  Production Design by Sophie Quiedeville.  Costume Design by Justine Pearce.  Film Editing by Yann Dedet.  Cannes Film Festival 2008.   Louis Garrel plays a photographer who does a session with a married…

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Daguerréotypes (1976)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  West Germany/France, 1976.  Ciné Tamaris, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Nurith Aviv, William Lubtchansky.  Film Editing by Andree Choty, Gordon Swire.   Filmmaker Agnes Varda was inspired by a storefront on the Rue Daguerre, where her studio is still located, whose window hadn’t changed its products…

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Merry-Go-Round

BBBB (out of 5) Brooklyn native Joe Dallesandro shows up in France after getting a note from his estranged girlfriend to meet him at a particular time and place.  He doesn’t find her when he gets there, but instead runs into her sister (Maria Schneider) who has received the same invitation.  When they finally find their…

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Noroît

BBB.5 (out of 5) Jacques Rivette’s companion piece to Duelle is as visual splendid though not as invigorating.  Loosely inspired by (and including pieces of) The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur, it stars Geraldine Chaplin as a woman who plans to get revenge on a witch (Bernadette Lafont) who killed her brother.  Lafont is the leader of a gang of…

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Duelle (Une Quarantaine)

BBBB (out of 5) A mysterious beauty (Juliet Berto) shows up in a small hotel lobby late at night and asks the woman behind the desk to help her track down a man she is looking for.  Getting involved, the desk clerk (Hermine Karagheuz) eventually witnesses a couple of murders and crosses paths with another mysterious…

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Frequent Death (Frequence Meurtre)

BB.5 (out of 5) Routine thriller that only has life because of the wonderful work by star Catherine Deneuve. She plays a psychoanalyst who hosts a radio show and begins to worry when strange things begin happening to her. Somebody breaks into her home, a mysterious voice begins calling into her show and threats against…

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Agent Trouble

BBBB (out of 5) A hitchhiker travelling through the snowy regions of northern France comes across a tour bus packed with tourists who all turn out to be dead. He comes back to Paris and tells his museum librarian aunt (Catherine Deneuve, hilarious in curly red wig and glasses) before being brutally murdered. Convinced his…

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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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Va Savoir

BBBB (out of 5) Jacques Rivette’s films are so subtle as to be practically undetectable, but if you allow them to suck you in with their realistic acting and natural pacing, you’ll reap their many rewards. Less daring viewers, however, will be appalled at his idea of what constitutes a romantic comedy in this beautifully…

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The Woman Next Door (La Femme d’à côté)

BBBB (out of 5) Fanny Ardant is sinfully beautiful in this absorbing drama about love lost and later rekindled.   Gerard Depardieu and his wife enjoy a quiet life in their beautiful French village until they get new neighbours, a couple of whom the wife (Ardant) was once Depardieu’s lover. Their prior relationship had been one…

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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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Regular Lovers (Les Amants Reguliers) (2005)

PHILIPPE GARREL Bil’s rating (out of 5):   0.  France, 2005.  Maïa Films, Arte France Cinema, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Centre National De La Cinematographie.  Scenario and dialogue by Philippe Garrel, scenario collaborators Arlette Langmann, Marc Cholodenko.  Cinematography by William Lubtchansky.  Produced by Gilles Sandoz.  Music by Jean-Claude Vannier.  Production Design by Nikos Meletopoulos, Mathieu Menut.  Costume Design by Cecile Berges, Justine Pearce.  Film Editing…

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