THE BRIDESMAID (Claude Chabrol, 2004)

Claude Chabrol’s dark, turbulent La demoiselle d’honneur, adapted by Chabrol and Pierre Leccia from the novel by Ruth Rendell, seems especially lame coming in between his Flower of Evil (2003) and The Comedy of Power (2006), both excellent. It’s a charmless variation on Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951).      Philippe Tardieu is stuck on […]

LA JETEE (Chris Marker, 1962)

With affinities for Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), Robbe-Grillet and Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad (1961) and Godard’s upcoming Alphaville (1965), Chris Marker’s black-and-white “photographic novel,” La jetée, explores “the paradoxes of time.”      On the pier at Orly, a boy espies a woman with a winsome smile. If he were grown, they might fall in love.      Marker’s […]

SUNLESS (Chris Marker, 1982)

Taking its title from an 1874 cycle of Mussorgsky songs, Chris Marker’s Sans soleil bounds over four continents in its anthropological, philosophical travelogue combining documentary materials. Marker interrelates numerous issues, including space, time, memory, history, computers, street festivals and commemorations, appearance versus reality, such as in a public ceremony that projects political unity when in […]

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Frank Capra, 1946)

It’s grandiose. It sets its inflated style with its opening voice-overed starry heaven, and continues this style during its (interminable) duration on earth. By contrast, Lothar Mendes’s one decade-earlier The Man Who Could Work Miracles, from Wells, begins the same way but becomes precise, life-sized, once the action comes down to our planet. The Mendes […]