THE STORY OF ADELE H. (François Truffaut, 1975)

Why did François Truffaut cast a teenaged actress in L’histoire d’Adèle H. when the real Adèle Hugo was 33 at the time—1863—when this poignant, beauteous film is set? This was in the period of her family’s exile in Guernsey owing to her father’s opposition to dictator Louis Napoléon. Adèle’s father was the great poet, novelist […]

THE CYCLIST (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1987) and ELEPHANT (Alan Clarke, 1988)

These two films are failures for much the same reason. From Iran, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Bicycleran is reminiscent of the anti-American Depression-set Hollywood film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), while the British Elephant, Alan Clarke’s final film, plagiarizes the “relay” structure of Chantal Äkerman’s glorious Toute une nuit (1982), turning its vignettes of romantic couplings […]