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 […]

OLIGARKH (Pavel Lungin, 2002)

One of the most exhilarating and, finally, rueful of post-Soviet Russian films, Tycoon: A New Russian is, however, perhaps more smart-alecky than smart. Regardless, it is very entertaining, with the protagonist, entrepreneur Plato Makovski (Vladimir Mashkov, good), standing in for real-life Boris Berezovsky. Plato owns Infocar, a media conglomerate, which marks Russia’s descent into privatization […]

PEREIRA DECLARES (Roberto Faenza, 1996)

Marcello Mastroianni won his fourth David di Donatello Award as best actor—the Italian film industry’s prize—for his fine performance as Dr. Pereira, editor of the Saturday cultural page of Lisboa, an urban Portuguese “independent newspaper” that avoids political controversy and concerns, in Roberto Faenza’s Sostiene Pereira, from Antonio Tabucchi’s novel. It is 1938, and civil […]