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