CONVERSATIONS WITH MAMA (Santiago Carlos Oves, 2004)

The set-up of Conversaciones con mamá, from Argentina, provides a rich store of potential thematic material (corporate downsizing, sudden unemployment when you’re in your fifties, the resultant strain on a longterm marriage, globalized economy, etc.), but it all goes up in smoke as writer-director Santiago Carlos Oves pursues only bogus sentiment.      Worthless film.

RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS (Eric Rohmer, 1995)

One of Eric Rohmer’s funniest, wisest, most rueful films, Les rendez-vous de Paris consists of three filmlets about love in Paris.      Esther makes a date with a politely persistent, flirtacious dentist-bound stranger to meet in a café (boy to Esther: “The best encounters happen when you least expect them”); Esther is coping with the rumor […]

THE NIGHT MY NUMBER CAME UP (Leslie Norman, 1955)

According to this British airflight thriller, the Chinese are “medieval” in their “superstitiousness,” believing that nightmares are premonitions of disaster. The flight in question, in The Night My Number Came Up, is from Bangkok to Tokyo. Its details, including a deadly storm, are shared at a Hong Kong dinner party, and the flight the next […]