Unhappy with both historical novels about the revolution and
the films made from those novels, Rohmer decides to employ
two distinct strategies: He uses a first-hand account of events,
which in his mind is far more "truthful" than any
historians most in-depth research; and, more audaciously,
he avoids shooting in external settings, employing digital
imaging throughout the film to recreate the city and period
in exactitude. As he explains, "the face of Paris has
changed so drastically that there is not one line of sight
left from revolutionary times." Grace Elliott was a young
Scottish aristocrat who found herself stuck in Paris during
the Revolution. The film depicts the subtle relationship between
Grace and Philippe "Egalite," Duke of Orleans and
cousin of Louis XVI, King of France. Once lovers, two of them
still share a complex and ambiguous friendship which is rendered
all the more difficult by the stress of the events that begin
to swirl around them.
As in all his work, loaded conversation (and what it reveals
and disguises about the characters) takes the central position
in the film. Rohmer effortlessly engages us in the nuances
of Grace and the dukes conversation, while leading us
towards the different fates which await the participants of
this historic and momentous occasion. (129 mins.) Print courtesy
of Sony Pictures Classics.
Selected Filmography: My Night at Mauds (69),
Claires Knee (70), Chloe in the Afternoon (72), Pauline
at the Beach (82), Summer (85), A Tale of Spring (90), A Winter
Tale (92), A Summer Tale (96), An Autumn Tale (98)
SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:15pm and 2/9, 9:30pm GU; 2/11,
Sandra Goldbachers knowing, bittersweet comedy chronicles
15 years of tumultuous friendship between Marina and Holly.
Growing up in London in the 1970s, the inseparable two make
a childhood pact to be best friends forever. Marina, the bolder
of the two has style and glamour, but a dysfunctional home
life. Holly, shy but brainy, has overprotective parents and
nagging insecurity about her possessive best friend. As the
two opposites move from teens to twenties, each wrestling
with identity, family, school, love lives and secrets, the
universal truths of friendship and loyalty are poignantly
put to the test. "I have always been fascinated by how
many women seem to have a best friend who in some
ways haunts them like a specter, and those early friendships
can have an intoxicating power. I am still haunted by dreams
of a best friend who I havent seen for 20 years. The
thrill of that Siamese twin-like bond can be so seductive
that it is hard to relinquish as you try to grow older together."Sandra
Goldbacher. (107 mins.) Print courtesy of IDP Films.
SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:30pm and 2/11, 7pm WH.
The newest addition to the Danish Dogme 95 produced films
is the first by a woman director and the first where script,
wit and charm really take precedence over technical improvisation.
It begins as almost a parody of the themes of Bergmanesque
psychodrama. Andreas, a young, inexperienced pastor wrestles
with a crisis of faith as he comes to a Copenhagen suburb
to take over a new parish. Lonely and friendless, Andreas
is persuaded to sign up for an Italian class where he encounters
of five other lonely, single characters. The class becomes
the lifeline for the group, each of whom has struggled with
lifes misfortunes. But what at first appears the depressing
gives way to comedic, romantic magic as they together find
the love, friendship and solutions missing from their individual
lives. "A neorealist Midsummer Nights Dream, or
perhaps Mike Leigh with a sweet tooth, Italian For Beginners
is a rarity: a feel-good film that doesnt insult your
intelligence." - Telluride Film Festival. This years
Danish submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. (118 mins.)
Print courtesy of Miramax Films.
Filmography: The Birthday Trip (90), On Our Own (98).
SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7pm BW and 2/10, 4:45pm WH.
"Set in an unusually calm New York City and taking a
richly ironic view of the contrasting perspectives of five
characters who connect by happenstance, this film suggests
that fate is largely dictated by how one approaches life.
Gene (Alan Arkin) is a manager at a large insurance company
who vents his habitual pessimism on a cheerful co-worker.
Similarly moody and middle-aged, Walker (John Turturro) decides
he can no longer be content with his life as a physics professor;
he leaves his wife Patricia (Amy Irving) to face her own vast
loneliness. Troy (Matthew McConaughey) is a young attorney
whose dizzying career rise is tumbled by a single act. And
Beatrice (Clea DuVall) is an optimistic young cleaning woman
who rides on the wings of a past miracle until she suddenly
needs another one. These ordinary people find themselves asking
the eternal philosophical question: What is happiness, and
how do we get it? Examining the dramatic impact of random
and quotidian encounters, the intricate structure of the film
is ingenious. While allowing for poignancy, intimacy, playfulness
and optimism, the film pits the search for happiness against
the bitter ironies of chance."Toronto Film Festival.
(94 mins.) Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
Filmography: Clockwatchers (97).
SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:30pm BW and 2/9, 2pm WH.