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  • All Around Us

    All Around Us

    All Around Us. The tone is immediately distinctive, with some of the feeling of classical American cinema, mostly in the deployment of entertaining character traits. But it also starts boldly in the middle of a discussion filmed in alternating closeups (the wife getting a foot massage) - so not a slavish classicism. At first I felt that the entertainment tropes threw the tone off at times, but I quickly got on board with the project. Its ambition is considerable, with…

  • The Marriage of Maria Braun

    The Marriage of Maria Braun

    The Marriage of Maria Braun. A masterpiece. The visual style is impressive but mostly dedicated to dramatic effect: the low-angle tracking shot of Maria finding Bill after Hermann is reported dead, for instance, seems essentially a dramatic device. The writing is spectacular, world-class: not just witty and striking, but always pulling us back to the broader characterization, and always combined with a Sternbergian sense of people’s mystery. Maria is of course a symbol of the spirit of amoral post-war capitalist…

Popular reviews

  • Twelve Thousand

    Twelve Thousand

    Twelve Thousand. An uncanny film, challenging in multiple ways and successful in meeting each challenge. The subject of struggling for income lends the film realist credentials - though the opening shot of the protagonist dancing in the street foreshadows abstraction to come. The first domestic scene is daringly erotic, and a sense of urgent sexuality permeates the couple’s relationship; but financial issues merge with sexual ones almost immediately, and continue to do so throughout the film. Yet Trebal has no…

  • A Judgement in Stone

    A Judgement in Stone

    La Cérémonie. A truly remarkable film, perfect really, and terrifying: I was at the same time lost in admiration and a bit depressed. The clarity of the portrait of malevolence is blinding, and a lot to take. The bourgeoisie comes off better than the insane and evil working class, but neither are spared anything: the dismissal of Bonnaire by Cassel is sinister; Bisset’s need for stability makes her blind. Chabrol has an interesting way of balancing horror: for instance, Bisset…