CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (Pierre Chenal, 1935)

Stark, sturdy, Pierre Chenal’s Crime et châtiment strips Dostoievski’s novel nearly bare, dispensing with its plot density and philosophical richness, to focus on two things: dropout law student Raskolnikov’s anguished poverty, which motivates his rash acts (whatever his rationalizations, including the compensatory one of his intellectual and moral superiority, hence, existence above the law); after […]

INTIMATE STRANGERS (Patrice Leconte, 2004)

Films by France’s prolific Patrice Leconte vary in quality; while I found Monsieur Hire (1989) “elegant though shallow, and frustratingly ambiguous and incomplete,” I like Confidences trop intimes just fine. It is all about people—grownups, mind you, not kids—coming out of somebody else’s shadow and into their own light.      The protagonist is William Faber, who […]