Bernard And Doris

I probably could enjoy Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes performing the Manhattan phone directory—which might be almost as edifying as this partly fictionalized HBO movie about Doris Duke, the socialite and philanthropist who died in 1993, and Bernard Lafferty, the gay Irishman who became her butler and best friend. Director Bob Balaban, known mainly as an actor, performed wonders with his features Parents (1989) and The Last Good Time (1994); he’s been directing TV ever since, and he does what he can with Hugh Costello’s arch script. 102 min. (JR)

Published on 31 Jan 2008 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Profound Desire Of The Gods

One of the best and most ambitious features by Shohei Imamura, this farcical fable (1968), set on a tropical island, probably won

Published on 25 Jan 2008 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Still Life

Please go to

Published on 24 Jan 2008 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by admin

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Love Lived On Death Row

As the title suggests, this video documentary about Elias Syriani, a North Carolina man who stabbed his wife to death in 1990, and his four children, who forgave him years later and appealed his death sentence, has all the makings of a real-life soap opera. Yet despite its force as a polemic against capital punishment, and for all the public displays of emotion, I came away feeling that parts of this potent story weren’t being told. Syriani, a devout Catholic from Jordan, isn’t among the storytellers, so his emotional problems and religious awakening are left to others to explain (or not). And on two occasions video maker Linda Booker employs piano music when one daughter starts to cry, which suggests she isn’t sure when or how to let the story speak for itself. 83 min. (JR)

Published on 10 Jan 2008 in Featured Texts, by admin

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