MR. ARKADIN (Orson Welles, 1955)

The film known in Britain as Confidential Report is among Orson Welles’s lamest films. It is intriguing and visually dazzling nevertheless. It is as intricate as a dense spiderweb—in some ways, a Trial run for his end-of-Europe, end-of-the-world masterpiece (1962) from Kafka.      The protagonist is Guy van Stratten—it turns out, a false identity in a […]

THE TOWN IS QUIET (Robert Guédiguian, 2000)

Although it progressively loses force until pulling together for a sharp finish, Robert Guédiguian’s La ville est tranquille is ambitious and provocative. Its survey of an Altmanian host of individual lives, primarily working-class, many of them intersecting, is contained within a single city: Guédiguian’s own Marseilles. Its dense drama allows us to see how globalization […]