HEADING SOUTH (Laurent Cantet, 2005)

In the late 1970s Haiti attracted tourists from up north. Ellen, a Wellesley College professor, 55, has been finding her “Roman Spring” at a beach resort there for the past six years. Brenda, a 45-year-old divorcée from Savannah, nastily competes with Ellen for Legba, who, when he was 15 three years earlier, inspired Brenda’s first […]

TRILOGY (Lucas Belvaux, 2002)

The narrative form of Lucas Belvaux’s Trilogy may be described as three overlapping circles of plot. The same event that’s central in one film may be peripheral in another; a character who is major here may be “supporting” there. (Think Balzac.)      The recycled cast of characters includes three schoolteachers: Cécile, who is married to hypochondriac […]

THE RIDER NAMED DEATH (Karen Shakhnazarov, 2004)

“Terrorism is the triumph of the individual over the State.”      Karen Shakhnazarov’s The Rider Named Death (Vsadnik po imeni Smert), from the novel that Boris Savinkov (Andrei Panin, excellent) based on his own experiences as the leader of a Socialist Revolutionary Party activist cell in 1905 Russia, concerns their terrorist activities in anticipation of the […]