A murky, pretentious, unpleasant macho parable (2001) from Spanish filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo about a holocaust survivor (Max von Sydow) who runs a casino and is obsessed with other people’s luck, especially people who, like himself, have survived disasters. These he obliges to play a form of Russian roulette. The film’s a swell way of torturing yourself for 108 minutes. With Eusebio Poncela, Leonardo Sbaraglia, and Monica Lopez. In Spanish with subtitles. (JR)

Published on 09 Dec 2002 in Featured Texts, by admin

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No, Or The Vainglory Of Command

One of the most ambitious and accomplished works by Portugal’s premier filmmaker, Manoel de Oliveirawho turns 94 this month and is still fully active. Made in 1990, it contrives to tell the entire history of Portugal through a series of stories a Portuguese lieutenant uses to distract his colonial troops in Angola in 1973. This being Oliveira, you should expect the unexpected; the wordless opening sequence focuses on a massive tree. In Portuguese with subtitles. 110 min. (JR)

Published on 06 Dec 2002 in Featured Texts, by admin

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