UNE VIE (Alexandre Astruc, 1958)

I haven’t read Maupassant’s Une vie, but Alexandre Astruc’s film adaptation of it, provocatively retitled End of Desire in the U.S., is an exquisite though exceedingly strange fusion of Brontë (either Emily or Charlotte) and the gathering nouvelle vague in French cinema. Perhaps “fusion” is the wrong word, for the Gothic and contemporary (that is, […]

IN SEARCH OF THE UNRETURNED SOLDIERS IN THAILAND (Shohei Imamura, 1971)

Shohei Imamura’s brilliant, devastating television documentary In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Thailand (Mikikan-hei o otte: Tai-hen) concludes a pair of works begun the previous year with In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia. (Another documentary, Outlaw-Matsu Comes Home, 1973, functions as a coda to the two films.) The second film consists of […]

YEARNING (Mikio Naruse, 1964)

One of Mikio Naruse’s most realistic and piercing works, and one that is intermittently beautifully Ozuvian, Midareru examines the unraveling of a family whose old-fashioned market cannot compete with the new supermarket across the street—an impersonal corporate-owned consumer playground that can offer identical items at a much lower price. Japan’s new killer competitive spirit is […]