In Laurent Cantet’s 1999 French feature, written with Gilles Marchand, a student at a Paris business school returns home to Normandy to intern at the factory where his father has worked for 30 years. When the son and other workers go on strike and the antiunion father is let go, the son and father find themselves on opposite sides of the fence. This sharp, convincing, and utterly contemporary political film calls to mind some of Ken Loach’s work, full of passion as well as precision. Fine Arts.
It’s been about 40 years since I’ve seen Black Orpheus, and much as I sympathize with Carlos Diegues’s desire to do a politically correct remake of the Vinicius de Moraes playthe view of a Brazilian rather than a French tourist, without the racism, and updated to incorporate contemporary economic realitiesI wish he’d made this as much fun as the original. Focusing on the misery of crime and corruption in the favelas, Diegues has kept the Rio carnival too much in the margins, and since the story is just as mythological as it ever wasexcept that hell is now the junkyard where dead bodies are thrownI’m not sure how much has been gained in the updating. Still, the ‘Scope cinematography by Affonso Beato is colorful and attractive (as is the city itself), and the music and dancing are as infectious as ever; too bad that Diegues won’t let us enjoy more of them (1999). 110 min. (JR)
Derived from the fictionalized autobiography of Firdaus Kanga, who plays himself, this is a British feature about the life of a man born in Bombay with a disease that made his bones brittle and kept him from growing taller than four feet; Waris Hussein directed. Based on what I’ve sampled, it’s an eclectic and far from negligible picture. (JR)