LE JOLI MAI (Chris Marker, Pierre Lhomme, 1963)

Following Jean Rouch’s Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Chris Marker’s 3-hour Happy Month of May is dedicated to “the happy many” (Rouch had asked people in the street, “Are you happy?”), whose numbers, and whose happiness, prove elusive to find in Paris despite the end of the Algerian War, which has given France an unaccustomed […]

THE RAZOR’S EDGE (Edmund Goulding, 1946)

With its pseudo-Eastern mysticism, W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The Razor’s Edge proved enormously popular, and producer Darryl F. Zanuck’s Hollywoodenization gave postwar crowds a glossy transatlantic between-the-wars soap opera decked out in period finery.      It’s trash, of course, but it slides down the gullet as easily as an exotic liqueur; and, besides, director Edmund Goulding, […]

ERÉNDIRA (Ruy Guerra, 1983)

Colombian-born Gabriel García Márquez brilliantly wrote this film, which is based on his 1978 novella, La incréible y triste historia da la cándida Eréndira y de su abuela desalmada, and which Ruy Guerra directed. It is a heady, strangely evocative film—an allegory of Mexican history, with dark, at times delirious brushstrokes of magic realism.      The […]