PROVINCIAL ACTORS (Agnieszka Holland, 1978)

Among Poland’s most brilliant films, Agnieszka Holland’s Aktorzy prowincjonalni revolves around a provincial theatrical troupe outside Warsaw. They’re rehearsing something called Liberation. The play is historical (“. . . 100 years in fetters”), but it reflects the Communist state of Poland. It is a dark tragicomedy that early on gives us the possible suicide of […]

GENERAL DELLA ROVERE (Roberto Rossellini, 1959)

Now (rightly) regarded as one of Roberto Rossellini’s lesser works, when it was released General della Rovere won the top prize at Venice, the David di Donatello Award as best film, and the best director prize from Italy’s film journalists. It is a good, strong film, highlighted by two riveting performances; but it is also […]

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY (Douglas McGrath, 2002)

Their father’s “speculation” leaves the Nickleby family penniless, with young Nicholas its head, at 19, once his father dies. Drawn to London to seek help from Nickleby’s conniving, contemptuous older brother, the family is either rebuffed or “assisted” into dire misadventures of employment, young Nicholas at a far-off sadistic school for boys, where a sickly, […]