THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA (Christian-Jacque, 1948)

Christian-Jacque’s The Charterhouse of Parma (La chartreuse de Parme), from Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), is the sort of film I should intensely dislike. Narrative by virtue of the novel on which it is based, it proceeds by scenes rather than by shots. It is long because it needs to tell its story; its nearly three-hour length […]

LES DIABOLIQUES (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1954)

We change in many ways over time, and sometimes a film with which we are familiar strikes us very differently than it once did. I recall a time when I didn’t much like Henri-Georges Clouzot’s celebrated thriller Les diaboliques (Diabolique, in the U.S.; more accurately, Fiends in Great Britain). Eventually, I gave it a grudging […]

BLAISE PASCAL (Roberto Rossellini, 1971)

“[Pascal] was a very boring man, who never made love in his life.” — Roberto Rossellini      One of the most beautiful of Roberto Rossellini’s unsentimental, highly analytic, deeply moving present-tense histories, Blaise Pascal examines seventeenth-century Europe from the perspective of a scientist, philosopher and mathematician who helped change the world by advancing the cause of […]