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Movie Guide

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Esther Kahn (Not rated)

Director: Arnaud Desplechin. With Summer Phoenix, Ian Holm, Frances Barber. (145 min.)

Sterritt ** The setting is London a century ago; the heroine is a young daughter of Jewish immigrants who gradually overcomes her apathy toward life through enthusiasm for a theatrical career and the jolt of an unhappy love affair. Desplechin wants to film an adventure of the human spirit in the manner of a Hitchcockian drama, but he doesn't have a solid enough grasp of English culture to equal the complexity of his French productions like "The Sentinel" and "The Life of the Dead."

Pépé le Moko (Not rated)

Director: Julien Duvivier. With Jean Gabin, Mireille Balin, Marcel Dalio, Gabriel Gabrio. (90 min.)

Sterritt **** Pépé is a gifted French criminal who's moved his operation to the Casbah, where he lords it over friends and foes until a slinky French temptress leads him into a romantic muddle that proves his downfall. Made in 1937, this masterpiece of poetic realism features one of Gabin's most renowned performances, a smart subtext about French colonialism, and enough exotic atmosphere to keep your head in the clouds long after the final scene. In French with English subtitles.

Trouble Every Day (Not rated)

Director: Claire Denis. With Vincent Gallo, Aurore Clement, Beatrice Dalle, Tricia Vessey. (102 min.)

Sterritt ** People literally consume each other in this fragmented drama of two modern-day cannibals: a Frenchwoman who seduces her victims and an American man who's transformed by a medical concoction. Denis's pungent images create a nightmarish mood but don't bring full artistic coherence to her odd mix of gothic horror and postmodern reverie. In English, French with English subtitles.

We Were Soldiers (R)

Director: Randall Wallace. With Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear. (140 min.)


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