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Bent on retribution after his girlfriend deserts him, a young intellectual decides to seduce and abandon a woman chosen at random, with help from a friend who instigates the plot. Fabrice Luchini gives another of his ever-perky performances, but other elements of the movie are less memorable. Directed by new French filmmaker Christian Vincent. (Not rated) THE LIVING END -

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Two gay men, unsettled by diagnoses from AIDS tests, travel along the West Coast and meet all sorts of peculiar people. Some scenes between the main characters, an aspiring writer and a sometimes violent hustler, suggest the pointlessness of potentially useful lives being twisted out of shape by gay-bashing and homophobia. The film's adolescent attitudes and self-absorbed sexuality diminish its impact as a weapon against those ills, however. Made by Gregg Araki, a respected independent filmmaker. (Not ra ted) THE OX -

In the late 18th century, a man kills a neighbor's ox to feed his hungry family, with highly dramatic consequences. In overall tone, the film is exactly what you'd expect from a Swedish movie on this kind of subject, full of moody images and brooding performances. The cast includes a number of great Scandinavian stars, though, and of course the photography is ravishing, since the picture was made by legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist in his directorial debut. (Not rated)

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