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Category: Movies Page 1 of 16

French Film—For The Ages: The 2020 “De Gaulle”

It is compelling to hear in the French De Gaulle (2020) the grave arguments over whether France should sign an armistice with Hitler’s Germany or persist in warring against it. General De Gaulle is there and so is Petain, both men admirable, in a distressing national situation similar, really, to that in Ukraine in early 2022. Although De Gaulle, unlike Petain, wants heroic action, the French fighters are not there and he himself does only what he can (and it isn’t taking up arms). It’s a fairly sophisticated flick, with striking outdoor shots, directed by Gabriel Le Bomin.

One is obliged to say that a certain tidiness, a constrictedness, in De Gaulle prevents it from resembling life as well as it should. Still, with prowess Lambert Wilson enacts a tough soldier and anxious family man, De Gaulle; and from Le Bomin comes intelligent sensitivity. The film is wonderfully watchable.

(In French with English subtitles)

A Farcical Parlor, Bedroom And Bath

Buster Keaton triumphed in his early talkie, Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931), since it is replete with the physical comedy he had always been doing and is based on what is probably an entertaining stage farce by C.W. Bell and Mark Swan. Keaton plays an utter naif and know-nothing who is, to me, not a very interesting character, but the well-paced (and slight) farce waxes hilarious—and still serves Keaton effectually. The rest of the cast makes the grade as well.

“Unplanned,” Then Aborted

In the 2019 film Unplanned, causing a human fetus to “fight” for its life is the moral equivalent of inflicting fetal pain, unless what is presented is fetal pain. Both courses of action, to be sure, are vile. Surely fetal pain has galvanized legislators to pass the strong, sometimes too strong, anti-abortion laws we have recently seen. The fighting, the struggle, of an unborn child galvanizes Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) to quit her job as a Planned Parenthood clinic director in this artistically unsuccessful but palpably interesting faith-based movie.

Remember The Camp of the Saints?

Last month, October 2022, more than 230,000 illegal immigrants were arrested at the U.S. border. How many will there be this month? How many immigrants this month will decide to overstay their visas? Will all these people, so often low-skilled, find work in the near future? Indeed, will they all want to find work since birthright citizenship for children brings welfare money?

Time to get serious.

Broken Virtue, “The Broken Star”

It is inarguably a fine thing that there are good guys in Westerns, especially one like The Broken Star (1956) wherein even a deputy marshal, Frank Smeed (Howard Duff), is depraved. A greedy murderer, this one, and he can’t get the better of his honorable friend, Deputy Marshal Bill (Bill Williams), although he assuredly tries. Without Bill and additional “good guys,” the movie’s depravity would become suffocating. One of the “good guys” is Conchita (Lita Baron), Bill’s love interest. Frank Smeed doesn’t deserve a love interest and doesn’t have one.

I am unfamiliar with director Lesley Selander‘s many other flicks, but this one is a manfully handled B product. Nobody here is a pretty-boy westerner or (of course) a wimp. A barroom fight scene means business. There is plenty of spot-on assertiveness and dark-haired Baron is all woman. Hooray! I must see some other Selander movies.

Loving Teacher: “A Minute’s Silence”

Julia Koschitz provides superb groundedness in the German film A Minute’s Silence (2016), in the role of Stella Petersen. She is very good at facial play but does not overdo it as her Stella starts working as an English teacher in a German fishing village.

At first Stella is not altogether kindly treated in the village, but this soon means nothing since there blossoms a romantic affair between her and Christian, one of her teenaged students. The teacher seduces Christian, savvily played by Jonas Nay, and enjoys her time with him without loving him. Christian probably does love Stella.

Ably directed by Thorsten Schmidt, the piece (seen by me on Prime) is tender and finally hard-hitting. Supporting actors are a delight, as is the coastal scenery. And although it ends with a phony positive metaphysic, Silence is hard to dislike, glowingly respectable.

(In German with English subtitles)

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