THE MAN WHO LIES (Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1968)

Writer-director Alain Robbe-Grillet’s L’homme qui ment—essential viewing, this—begins in a wooded expanse as a youngish man, nicely dressed, pursued by armed soldiers, ducks behind trees to avoid their bullets and, despite the cascades of bullets aimed at him, escapes uninjured: a fantastical (and visually gorgeous) opening that visually translates this man’s propensity for telling whoppers. […]

THE LAST TRAIN (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1973)

Based on the 1965 novel by Georges Simenon, Pierre Granier-Deferre’s Le train is an exceptionally powerful extramarital love story beginning in May 1940 during the German invasion of France. Attempting with countless others to flee the Germans, radio repairman Julien Maroyeur (Jean-Louis Trintignant, excellent) is in a freight car of “the last train,” where he […]

Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

From the novel by Vassili Vassilikos, based on the 1963 murder of opposition party deputy Gregorios Lambrakis, a liberal, that led to the military overthrow of democracy in Greece, Z—in ancient Greek, “He lives”—won a plethora of prizes, including the foreign-language Oscar and “best film” from the National Society of Film Critics and New York […]

FLIC STORY (Jacques Deray, 1975)

Although the source material, Roger Borniche’s autobiography, imposes on Jacques Deray’s film an idealization of Borniche and his marriage, and simplifies Emile Buisson’s motivation for mayhem, Flic Story constitutes riveting, exciting, intermittently terrifying, almost consistently brilliant entertainment. It fully conveys, rather than glosses over, the horror of criminal violence, and does no less for police […]

RED (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1994)

“Who are you?” Valentine Dussaut (Irène Jacob, incandescent), a young model, asks Joseph Kern, a much older man she wonders about. His answer, “A retired judge,” tells her what she already knows. Is he more than that?      The conclusion of a trilogy, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s last film, Trois couleurs: Rouge, takes as its principal motif the […]