Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Jean Renoir By Roderick Heath Sometimes a famous name can be a boost or a burden. Or just a name. As the son of one of the most lauded Impressionist painters, Jean Renoir’s attraction to cinema gave the young art form an aura of matured sophistication, but might well have also lifted a few …

Continue reading Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

The Immortal Story (Histoire Immortelle; TV, 1968)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Orson Welles By Roderick Heath An adaptation of a story by Karen Blixen published under her pseudonym Isak Dinesen, The Immortal Story is also a story of two immortals, Orson Welles and Jeanne Moreau. Welles’ career as a director had long since become a victim of his own clarion work Citizen Kane (1941) and …

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Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur les Pianiste, 1960)

Director/Coscreenwriter: François Truffaut By Roderick Heath The evergreen lustre the early films of the French New Wave still retain stems in part from a tangible quality inseparable from the moment and place of their making. That sense of fleet-footed adventure encoded in their frames, captured by a bunch of ragged young men and women spilling …

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Remorques (1941)

Director: Jean Grémillon By Roderick Heath Jean Grémillon was little-known outside France until relatively recently, in spite his place as one of the progenitors of French cinema’s deeply influential “poetic realist” style. Some of his lack of repute might have stemmed from his wayward career, which suffered through a series of bruising switchbacks in fortune, …

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A Trip to the Moon (Voyage dans la lune, 1902)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Georges Méliès By Roderick Heath On the 27th of December, 1895, Georges Méliès attended a special event arranged by the inventor brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. The brothers had recently perfected the machine they called the cinematograph—a creation that combined functions of moving picture camera, processor, and projector—and had been showing off the results …

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How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien tu m’aimes?, 2005)

Director/Screenwriter: Bertrand Blier The White Elephant Blogathon By Roderick Heath Bertrand Blier was for a long time a strong commercial and creative presence in French cinema, thanks to his reputation as a maker of droll, lippy, often outrageous films about that eternal French topic, l’amour. His work evoked prime-era Woody Allen’s fascination for urban manners …

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Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

Director/Screenwriter: Olivier Assayas By Roderick Heath Olivier Assayas’ career is littered with films studying the cross-pollinating perversities of art and life and contemplations of art as life itself—as hobby, business, mirror, catalyst, passion, refuge. Key to much of Assayas’ cinema is a belief that performance is a kind of life and that all life is …

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Une Femme est une Femme (1961) / Vivre sa Vie: Film en Douze Tableaux (1962)

Director/Screenwriter: Jean-Luc Godard By Roderick Heath One of the storied events of film history, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) swiftly gained a reputation as a revolutionary moment in how movies were watched and made. Released in close company with Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima, Mon Amour (both 1959), Breathless surpassed them in …

Continue reading Une Femme est une Femme (1961) / Vivre sa Vie: Film en Douze Tableaux (1962)

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle Chapitre 1 et 2, 2013)

Director/Screenwriter: Abdellatif Kechiche By Roderick Heath French-Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche specialises in long, leisurely, encompassing behavioral studies of individual humans standing at various crossroads. They are often tilted towards Kechiche’s own understanding of cross-cultural neutral zones and the immigrant experience, whilst also often fluently examining the peculiar rituals and experiences that mark youth’s coming of …

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