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Friday, Jun 13, 2014
Dormant Beauty gives us four different movies in one: a melodrama, a romantic comedy and a political drama

Marco Bellocchio has been making films for over five decades, yet watching each of his projects you would think you’re seeing the work of someone who has just fallen in love with cinema. He approaches each film with the eye of someone for whom everything is new and fresh, which has made him one of those rare masters who don’t necessarily fit into the auteur category, because it’s impossible to pin him down for a specific signature.


Watching Fists in the Pocket, a gritty black and white realist drama, that first put him on the global spotlight, you might have a hard time believing this is the same filmmaker who would go on to do the endlessly compassionate Dormant Beauty, a film that lacks the restlessness of Pocket but replaces it with a sense of humanism that the former seemed to satirize.


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Thursday, Jun 12, 2014
PopMatters caught up with Romain Duris and writer/director Cédric Klapisch during their recent trip to New York and we discussed their two-decade long work relationship.

It’s been 13 years since worldwide audiences first met Xavier (Romain Duris) in Cédric Klapisch’s L’Auberge Espagnole as he moved to Barcelona and befriended a group of young men and women from all over the world with whom he shared some extraordinary adventures. It’s also been ten years since we last saw Xavier in Russian Dolls as he followed his heart’s desire to St. Petersburg trying to win the love of Wendy (Kelly Reilly). Since then Duris’ career has exploded and showcased his talents as both a romantic lead (Populaire) and a dark anti-hero worthy of a Melville film (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) and soon we will see him in Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo (opening Stateside on July 18), which makes it fascinating to see him slip back so easily into the skin of Xavier in the series’ latest installment Chinese Puzzle.


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Thursday, May 15, 2014
The French legend takes hold of the screen with a screen performance so vibrant that there might as well be no one else in the film.

Fanny Ardant is even taller than she looks in the movies. Sitting with her long legs crossed, her pencil skirt and sheer black shirt make her look like one of the femme fatales she’s become notorious for playing, and as she speaks in French to Marion Vernoux (who directed her in Bright Days Ahead) they sound as if they’re plotting something positively sinful. She turns towards me, smiles, extends her hand towards me and softly says “oh, we’re just talking about food”. In Bright Days Ahead, Ardant plays Caroline, a recently retired dentist who finds herself torn between her love for her husband Philippe (Patrick Chesnais) and her much younger lover (Laurent Lafitte), a computer instructor she met at the center for senior citizens her daughters want her to spend her free time in.


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) leaves the convent to meet her only living relative, nothing she has learned from the nuns has prepared her to meet her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a woman who represents everything she has been taught not to be. In fact, there is so much about Wanda’s worldly ways that Anna is ignorant of, that at first we can’t help but feel as if writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski has created her just for the sake of being a plot device. With her chain-smoking, constant drinking and promiscuity, Wanda seems to be in the story just to show Anna that the world is full of sin and she should stay away from it. But the more we come to know of her, the more complex she becomes and the more we understand that she’s not simply a “lesson” for Anna, but in fact the key to unlocking her whole existence.


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Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014
Based on true events, the film is an adaptation of Puenzo’s own novel, which follows notorious Nazi physician Josef Mengele.

Lucía Puenzo’s films tend to be very precise when it comes to their locations, “I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere other than Buenos Aires,” she explained to us as we discussed her latest film, The German Doctor during her recent visit to New York City. “I like specifics,” she continued, “knowing the names of the streets and places where my stories occur”, something that can be perceived in the way her camera takes in the vastness of the Patagonia where her film takes place.


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