Richard C. Walls

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Category: The Scene616 City Slang28

Year: 200541 200484 200484 200393 2002108 200194 200084 199979 199844 199717

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Rashomon September 02, 1998

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  • Lacombe, Lucien

      In this 1974 Louis Malle film set during the waning days of WWII, a young man living in German-occupied France winds up working with the Nazis, which offers him, for the first time in his life, a feeling of empowerment. He relishes his newfound control and ability to evoke fear. When Lucien falls in love with a Jewish girl, he neither knows nor cares about the implications until he’s in over his head.
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  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

      Though set in the early ’70s during China’s Cultural Revolution, this film isn’t a gritty look at that horrendous period in history. Director Dai Sijie, who also wrote the novel the film is based on, lived through those times, and is less interested in focusing on the persecution (and sometimes flat-out murder) of writers, artists and anyone else who showed “bourgeois tendencies,” and more intent on recapturing a period of his youth that he sees through a gloss of nostalgia.
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  • Memory of a Killer

      The centerpiece of this slick and sleazy Belgian thriller is Jan Decleir’s performance as Angelo Ledda, a hit man experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Adapted from a popular Belgian crime novel, the film has its share of action-thriller clichés (Ledda is at times almost superhuman in his ability to get out of tight situations) and unlikely contrivances, but Decleir’s pitch-perfect performance makes it worth seeing — memorable, in fact.
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  • Genesis

      The follow-up to the 1996 film Microcosmos, which examined the mostly hidden world landscape, revealing a strange and beautiful world of seemingly unearthly abstraction. Genesis is technically similar, exploring the creation of the universe and, subsequently, life on Earth. However, it’s less compelling, perhaps because the topic is so huge and riddled with physical and philosophical conundrums.
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  • The Fire Within

      The Fire Within Louis Malle’s 1963 low-key portrait of a suicidal writer making one last survey of his life while working up the will to make that final leap into the void. A depressed, alcoholic unable to cope with real life, Alain struggles to balance compromise with integrity.. Filmed in moody black and white and with Erik Satie’s seductively forlorn piano music on the soundtrack, it conjures a feeling of profound sadness without resorting to sentimentality.
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