THE ELUSIVE CORPORAL (Jean Renoir, 1962)

By common critical procedure, Jean Renoir’s late-career Le caporal épinglé, because it is about two French soldiers who keep trying to escape a wartime German prison-camp, is complacently clubbed by comparison with Renoir’s La grande illusion a quarter-century earlier. In a sense, Renoir is inviting—daring—the comparison. From Jacques Perret’s 1947 autobiographical novel, Le caporal épinglé […]

WE’RE NOT MARRIED! (Edmund Goulding, 1952)

Because Melvin Bush mistakenly believed his appointment as justice of the peace began immediately, a few years later six wedded couples—this includes one that’s entirely offscreen—learn that their marriages, illegal, are instantly annulled. Consequences abound. For instance, Willie Reynolds (Eddie Bracken, at his best), a draftee, goes AWOL before shipping overseas so he can remarry […]

THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD (Cătălin Mitulescu, 2006)

Orson Welles, referring to Shoeshine (1946), expressed great admiration: “the camera disappeared, the screen disappeared; it was just life.” Few of us today would describe the effect of watching Vittorio De Sica’s film in quite this way, but Welles’s words might better suit Cătălin Mitulescu’s first feature, Cum mi-am petrecut sfârsitul lumii, from Romania and […]