LA BUCHE (Danièle Thompson, 1999)

La bûche, screenwriter Danièle Thompson’s first directorial effort, is a wonderful Christmastime comedy about a complicated family and its secrets; it is warm, humane and occasionally hilarious. The sparkling script is by Thompson and her son, Christopher Thompson, who also contributes a beautiful performance as a strange young man named Joseph, who lives rent-free in […]

HYPOTHESIS OF THE STOLEN PAINTING (Râúl Ruiz, 1978)

Perhaps the two most dazzling and brilliant works of Victorian literature are Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus (1834) and Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (1868-9). One is a convoluted piece of autobiographical prose; the other, a long, complex modernist poem about a Roman murder trial two hundred years earlier. As springboard, each work incorporates […]

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (George Cukor, 1940)

There are films one wants to like more, because they’re so smashingly entertaining, but one can’t because they’re so thin in ideas or muddled in the direction in which the film moves those ideas. Numerous “liberal films” fit this description—films that “say” the right things, but whose ideological underpinnings, whose whole thrust, suggest a counter-purpose. […]