SHAME (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

Civil war continues. Jan and Eva Rosenberg, both musicians (read: apolitical artists), have retreated to an island, where they farm. They are an alternately warm, good-natured and combative couple. Eva (Liv Ullmann, giving her best-ever performance—best actress, Guldbagge Award, National Society of Film Critics, National Board of Review) lightly, charmingly tells Jan over dinner outdoors, […]

THE BEST INTENTIONS (Bille August, 1992)

The courtship and early marriage of Ingmar Bergman’s parents in early twentieth-century Sweden, a poor, self-sensitive Lutheran priest and a cultured girl from a wealthy family: this is the narrative territory of Danish filmmaker Bille August’s somber, absorbing, beautifully scored Den Goda viljan. August, working from a script by Bergman, won the Palme d’Or at […]

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Ari Folman, 2008)

Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war included the massacres of Palestinian civilians in refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila. Phalangists, Lebanese Christian militants, committed these atrocities, but with Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon’s heads-up. Under orders, then-soldier Ari Folman, writer-director-star of Vals Im Bashir, set off flares that in turn set the Phalangists to their murderous task. […]

WORKERS FOR THE GOOD LORD (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1999)

Frédéric (Stanislas Merhar, a Ryan Gosling lookalike), the young protagonist of writer-director Jean-Claude Brisseau’s Les savates du bon Dieu, works hard as a garage mechanic for his wife, Élodie, and their infant daughter, trying his best amidst their threadbare existence in the Projects. When the film opens, she is already gone, Frédéric’s voiceover reveals. “I […]