LE BEAU MARIAGE (Eric Rohmer, 1981)

The second of Eric Rohmer’s six “Comedies and Proverbs,” Le beau mariage is the most brilliant comedy of the 1980s.      Fed up with his wife and children phoning him, art student Sabine dumps Simon. “I’m getting married,” she announces to Clarisse; “It’s an idea!” Clarisse has an unmarried cousin, Edmond. Introducing them, Clarisse announces, “You […]

UNDER THE ROOFS OF PARIS (René Clair, 1930)

“[A] redoubtable monster, an unnatural creation, thanks to which the screen will become poor theater.” Thus René Clair described sound as it applies to cinema. Clair was right, of course, but he was also adaptable; “[sound] . . . released his imagination,” film historian Eric Rhode has written. Clair’s first sound film, Sous les toits […]

KING LEAR (Peter Brook, 1971)

Shakespeare’s two greatest plays are Hamlet and King Lear. The latter overflows with humanity that is contextualized by a void, a stormy, rudderless universe. Born in Poland, literary critic Jan Kott proffered a daringly modern interpretation of the play in his 1964 book Shakespeare, Our Contemporary. Reading the seventeenth-century play through Samuel Beckett, Kott dispenses […]