Where The Truth Lies

Though he doesn’t qualify as a minimalist, Atom Egoyan tends to score when his obsessions are most concentrated (Calendar, Exotica) or, failing that, when his source material seems amenable to him (The Sweet Hereafter). Adapting a Rupert Holmes novel about the dirty secrets of an American showbiz team, loosely based on Martin and Lewis and humorlessly played by Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, Egoyan seems both out of his element and out of control, and the results are unsatisfying and gratuitously unpleasant. Alison Lohman isn’t very convincing as the reporter who’s trying to dredge up some dirt on the entertainers, and the elaborate flashback structure can’t hide the fact that the story never fully comes to life. 107 min. (JR)

Published on 28 Oct 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Today And Tomorrow

This first feature by Argentinean Alejandro Chomski charts 24 hours in the increasingly desperate life of a young stage actress (Antonella Costa) in Buenos Aires. Faced with eviction after losing her job as a waitress, she reluctantly decides to turn some tricks, only to be dragged deeper into trouble. With a camera that dogs her steps and jump cuts that hurtle us from one moment to the next, Chomski displays a more expressive style than Costa, but the collaboration between the two is purposeful and effective. In Spanish with subtitles. 87 min. (JR)

Published on 21 Oct 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman

I can’t say whether this 1971 feature is the best film by Brazilian master Nelson Pereira dos Santos, the father of Cinema Novo, but it’s the first one I saw, and it left the strongest impression. It describes the complex interactions between a French adventurer and a Tupinamba Indian tribe and charts a brilliantly comic and highly ironic ethnographic analysis of both; almost the entire cast is naked, and the overall message is that probably the only way the Frenchman can truly be absorbed by the tribe is nutritively. A must-see. In Portuguese with subtitles. 81 min. (JR)

Published on 21 Oct 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Housewarming

Carole Bouquet brings a lot of verve to her part as a successful lawyer, single mother, and illegal-alien activist whose liberal convictions are tested when she hires a team of immigrants without papers to renovate the second floor of her apartment and they wreck it. This farce (the original title is Travaux) is limited mainly to variations on a single premise, apart from a few fantasy interludes that work only fitfully (such as Bouquet’s impromptu dance steps, which seem to stand in for her legal maneuvers). But at least the premise is a good one, and writer-director Brigitte Rouan manages to sustain her light touch through all the broad turns of her secondary cast. In French with subtitles. 90 min. (JR)

Published on 14 Oct 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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