Director: Achero Mañas. With Juan José Ballesta, Pablo Galán, Alberto Jiménez, Manuel Morón. (88 min.)
Sterritt *** The poignant yet unsentimental story of a 12-year-old boy - the film's title means "Pellet," his nickname - caught between his abusive father and a grown-up friend who'd like to rescue him from his bad family environment but is afraid of legal reprisals if he does. This drama has won an armload of international prizes, including multiple honors in Spain's equivalent of the Oscar race, marking Mañas as a director with a bright future. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville. With Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Gian Maria Volonté, André Bourvil. (140 min.)
Sterritt **** A glistening gem among caper movies, this impeccably elegant jewel-heist drama takes its title from Buddhist lore, its cast from France's great gallery of leading men, and its style from the unique blend of cinematic savoir-faire and brooding existential angst that Melville polished throughout his rich career. Completed by Melville and legendary cinematographer Henri Decae in 1970, the picture waited more than 30 years to reach American screens. In French with English subtitles (reissue).
Director: Akira Kurosawa. With Takashi Shimura, Haruo Tanaka, Minoru Chiaki, Shinichi Himori. (143 min.)
Sterritt **** Told by a physician that he has only six months to live, an aging Japanese bureaucrat takes a mournful look at the meaning of his life so far, then decides to accomplish something worth doing in the little time he has left. This masterpiece of 1952 is one of the gentlest, subtlest tales from one of Japan's all-time-great filmmakers, combining the sweep of a novel with the intimacy of an elegy. Also known as "To Live." In Japanese with English subtitles (reissue).
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