Foreign Film Review: Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne

Considered a classic, this 1945 French film, directed by Robert Bresson, shows that when it comes to sex and love the French may seem to be more sophisticated than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts; but that nonetheless no one is more determined to wreck revenge than a woman scorned, even a refined and cultured, Parisian socialite.  This […]

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Foreign Film Review: A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair not only tells an engrossing tale of love, passion, politics and royal intrigue but also manages to elicit your interest in the painful birth pains of modernity in Europe (a subject which is not generally known as a crowd-pleaser) while at the same time giving you an insight into a country that […]

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Foreign Film Review: Tirez sur le Pianiste – Shoot the Pianist

The directors behind the French New Wave (la nouvelle vague) had a great love of American movies and Tirez sur le Pianiste is a wonderful pastiche of two great Hollywood genres – gangster movies and film noir. The New Wave was an artistic movement which has had a profound effect on movie making ever since, so […]

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Foreign Film Review: Mephisto

Based on the1936 novel by Klaus Mann, the film charts the rise of an actor – Hendrik Hofgen – who sells his soul to the devil (or his incarnation in 1930s Germany, the Nazis) – to become the most celebrated actor of his day, and ably depicts the price he ultimately pays for fame and […]

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Foreign Film Review: Les 400 Coups – The 400 Blows

Made in 1959 by François Truffaut, Les 400 Coups is one of the most significant films to come out of the French New Wave.  If you’re wondering what the title means, don’t. It’s meaningless in English.  In French “faire les 400 Coups” means to get into a lot of trouble, to lead a crazy life, to be a […]

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Foreign Film Review: Le Bossu – On Guard

In short, it’s a French swashbuckler movie (think Errol Flynn movie without the tights and set in France at the turn of the 18th century).  Being French of course, there’s some nudity and a rather dodgy love story which it gets away with in that way only the French really can.  The film stars Daniel […]

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Foreign Film Review: La Reine Margot – Queen Margot

La Reine Margot features many of the then leading lights of French cinema, Isabelle Adjani in the title role, Queen Margot, Daniel Auteuil as King Henri of Navarre, Jean-Hugues Anglade as Charles IX and Vincent Perez as Margot’s protestant lover, de la Môle. Though my knowledge of 16th century French history is shaky at best, […]

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Foreign Film Review: Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum – The Lost Honour of Katherine Blum

The film is based on a story by one of Germany’s most famous post-war authors, Heinrich Böll.  Set in 1975, in The Lost Honour of Katharine Blum, Böll lays bare how the West German police connive with the media to run roughshod over the rights and reputations of individuals in the name of fighting extremism.  […]

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Foreign Film Review: Des Teufels General – The Devil’s General

The Devil’s General is set in Berlin in December 1941 on the eve of America’s declaration of war on Germany. Although no Nazi, General Harris (Curd Jürgens) is nevertheless a cog in Hitler’s  Armed Forces. His position is made even more precarious when Luftwaffe planes keep crashing, and sabotage is suspected.  As Head of the Luftwaffe’s Technical […]

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Foreign Film Review: Danton

Danton is a great role for an actor to play – a tragic hero in the Shakespearian vein – a great man brought down by circumstance and a tragic flaw.  In Danton’s case this flaw is hubris. A revolutionary, loved by the people, Danton believes that though his arch-rival Robespierre may plot against him, the […]

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